Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Rain, Rain Go Away!

There is something great about the fresh smell in the air after a good rain. The birds seem to chirp louder, the animals frolic about and the trees, shrubs and plants seem to stand at attention and glow with lush new growth. But then it keeps raining two or three times a week, never really drying out in between rains. Our established trees and shrubs still look ok but our newly planted trees are starting to turn yellow and the leaves are wilting. How can the leaves actually be wilting with all this water. The reason they are wilting is the excess water is actually damaging the roots systems. The plant’s roots need oxygen to be healthy and grow. As the water fills the pores in the soil it pushes the oxygen out. If the plant’s roots cannot get the required amount of oxygen they start dying causing the leaves to wilt and turn yellow. The plants do not have to be surrounded by standing water for this root damage to occur they just need to have continuous wetness.
Once these roots are damaged the plant can’t take up the require moisture and nutrients and it will stop growing or if the damage is extensive they will eventually died.
To help your plants thru the stressful time you should lightly aerated the soil around the drip line with a garden fork. You want to loosen the soil but not break the roots.
Make sure you are not adding water when it is not needed. A newly planted tree needs moisture but it also need to slightly dry between watering. I like to do what I call a squeeze test to see if the soil requires moisture. To do this you collect a handful of soil from the base of the plant and squeeze it in your hand. If the soil holds the shape of your hand and does not crumble easily then there is enough moisture present. If the soil crumbles easily then the tree required moisture.
Generally trees require approximately 5 gallons of water per inch to trunk per week. This water should be applied at a slow rate so it does not run off. For a newly planted tree or shrub apply this water on top of the root ball as well as to the soil surrounding the edge of the root ball. This will encourage the tree to expand its roots.
Planting a tree to deep can also cause the roots to die from lack of oxygen. A plant should be planted so that the root ball is level with the surrounding grade or slightly higher.
Susan Jensen Stubbe
excessive rainfall and plants, overwatering trees, jensen nursery

Posted by Tammy Jensen at 9:51 AM 0 Comments