Tim's Weekly Column
June 14, 2018
In many cases, a gardener’s worst enemy is the sun and the wind. During the past week, I have had many people stop by the store with leaf samples of plants. The leaves may be dry along the edge or the leaves may be almost white in color. So often the problem stems from lack of water. When you first place plants in the garden or you put the plants into containers, the plants are battling to get their root system out into the soil. The sun and the wind cause the plant to lose lots of moisture through the leaves. The sunnier the day and the windier the weather causes the plants to struggle to get more and more water to the leaves. The lack of rain causes the plants to have a hard time to get water out of the soil. It is critically important for you to keep the soil evenly moist at all times. This may mean that initially you will need to water your plants every day. In some cases, you may need to water those young plants several times per day if the weather is sunny and very windy. If you add in temperatures in the 80’s or 90’s, then you have a recipe for disaster. Please make sure to keep up with the need to water you’re your plants.
Speaking of watering your plants, the question I often get is “ When is the best time to water my plants? “ The answer is first thing in the morning. Plants take up water better in the morning. They take up water in the morning to store water in the leaves and stems to help the plants to survive the heat of the day. If you water your plants later in the day, the plants can struggle to get hydrated and the plants can get damage to the leaves. On the flip side of this equation, the worst time of the day to water is in the evening. If plant leaves are wet going into the nighttime hours, you have created the perfect environment for fungus diseases to grow on your plants. If you had to water in the evening because your plants are drying out, you should be watering your plants at the base of the plant. This will minimize how many of the leaves get wet.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been riding home after work and I have seen people with a garden hose and a spray nozzle water the leaves of the plants to get the plants wet, thinking that they are doing the right thing. I sometimes think that it won’t be too many days before these people will be in the store looking for a fungicide to kill the fungus diseases that they have encouraged by watering the plants in the evening.
If you have been a gardener for any period of time, you will probably run into your plants developing a fungus disease. Mother Nature will often bring rainstorms late in the day which causes the leaves to be wet overnight. There are several preventative fungicides that will keep your plants from developing fungus diseases. Generally speaking, the sprays that appear to work the best are those sprays that use certain strains of bacteria to “ eat “ the fungus diseases before the disease can get a foothold on your plants. The old saying is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By treating your plants with a bacteria based preventative fungicide, you can stave off many of those diseases that will kill your plants.
Well, that’s all for this week. Father’s Day is Sunday and I hope all the Dads have a great day.
I’ll talk to you again next week.