Weather conditions lead to plant problems


This weather is killing me. It’s not fair to have a few warm weeks that get us all in a tizzy about gardening and planting and all of that stuff only to have the bottom drop out for awhile.

This is the worst-case scenario for those of you who have planted annuals early. Annuals that don’t tolerate cold soil and air temperatures are likely to be struggling.

One of the most common symptoms that I see during this type of weather is a reddening of the foliage, especially on petunias and other annuals.

This reddening is caused by a phosphorus deficiency. Don’t fertilize. Chances are that there is plenty of phosphorus in your soil, but it’s not in a form that is available to plants.

When soil temperatures are cold, phosphorus is not available to the plants. The symptoms usually show up as a reddening of the older foliage.

It’s usually not a big deal or problem because as soon as the weather warms up and soil temperatures go up again, the phosphorus becomes available to the plant and the foliage greens up again.

The other issue that you might find on annual with our recent cool damp weather is botrytis or gray mold.

This disease affects a wide array of perennials and annuals and some vegetables and fruits and thrives in cool, rainy weather.

It’s not usually damaging if you are paying attention to it. If you let it go or if we have rain for a long period of time, it can cause some problems.

I am guessing that you all have experienced this at some point in time but weren’t familiar with the disease.

Watch for brown spots on herbaceous (green) tissue and look for silver-gray spores on the dead or dying tissue. It looks like it sounds — a gray mold.

It affects all parts of the plant except for the root system. I usually see it on the flowers and buds and sometimes on the leaves.

The good news about botrytis is that when the weather changes. In the meantime, hand-pick flowers, leaves and other plant parts that are affected as they will continue to spread the spores through splashing rain and the wind.

Avoid doing this when the plants are wet as the problem spreads faster.

Rapid drying of plants and good air circulation helps to prevent this disease, and it’s not one that I recommend using fungicides.

Good sanitation practices in the fall also help to prevent major outbreaks of this disease when weather conditions are right. Like now unfortunately.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Home Garden

4 drinks that could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts
4 drinks that could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts

When you're trying to lose weight, you may not give much thought to what you drink, but those calories definitely add up! These "liquid calories" can sabotage your weight-loss efforts, and you may not feel as full as if you'd eaten the same number of calories. Many drinks also provide little to no nutrients and are often loaded with...
Lack of sunlight may cause winter weight gain, research suggests
Lack of sunlight may cause winter weight gain, research suggests

We often blame our added winter pounds on the holidays. All the gatherings of family and friends combined with good food, often take the toll on our waistlines. But if you're one of the many who laments adding a few pounds in December, it may not actually be entirely due to changes in your diet. In fact, new research suggests that a lack of sunlight...
25 Dayton-area galas and charity events to put on your calendar in 2018
25 Dayton-area galas and charity events to put on your calendar in 2018

This is a rare opportunity to dine with Dayton’s Mayor Nan Whaley and other esteemed guests from My Project USA. Proceeds from the evening will be used to protect and empower Dayton’s needy and underserved families.  WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, January 20 WHERE: The Golf Club at Yankee Trace, 10000 Yankee St., Centerville ...
5 things to know if you’re trying to conceive

If you are trying to conceive, you may first want to make sure your diet is conception-promoting. Research suggests a connection between certain foods and nutrients and the probability of conception. And, it is not just women who have to watch what they eat — but also men. For men, different foods and nutrients can effect sperm count and production...
D.L. STEWART: Tired of the daily grind? Talk to your gadget!

Because walking across a room or tapping on a keyboard requires way too much energy, technology is providing exciting new solutions to rescue us from the brink of our daily exhaustion — digital assistants. As the Associated Press reported this week, “From your couch you, you can now ask the Echo’s Alexa assistant to play your favorite...
More Stories