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News from the Good Food Project

And The Rains Came....

April 3, 2017

 

 

Will plants recover from rain and storm damage?  Rain is as important to your plants as sun and nutrients, but like anything else, too much of a good thing can spell trouble.  When rain is knocking down plants, gardeners may become despaired, worried that their precious carrots will never be the same.  Although plants flattened by the rain are a troubling sight, torrential rains and plants have been co-existing for thousands of years---healthy plants are perfectly capable of managing rain damage.

Heavy rain damage on plants may leave them looking like they have been flattened to within an inch of their life, until you take a closer look at the stems and branches.  It is amazing.  Most of those rain damaged parts are bent, not broken.  The plants may look terrible, but their flexibility save them from the monstrous rain storm.  If instead they had remained rigid in the face of such an intense beating, their tissues would have broken or cracked.

A few days to a week after a damaging storm, your plants will perk back up.  Sometimes flowers are damaged and leaves slightly torn, but your plants will replace these injured areas much faster than seems possible if you leave them alone to do it.  Don't try to prop plants that are rain-flattened, since this can lead to additional damage.  Let them be and watch them come back from their beating.

Healthy plants can take a good pounding from the rain and wind and will come back for more.  But if your plants have been over fertilized or are planted in an area with low light, there might be a problem.  Under these conditions, the plants have developed leggy, weak growth that was unable to flex enough to protect them from damage.

If you plant stems are broken, rather than bent, you can help them recover by removing severely damaged tissues within a week after the damaging rain.  This makes room for new leaves and shoots, and helps prevent the damage, browning tissues from encouraging disease.  In the future, perform a soil test before fertilizing and make sure that your plants are getting enough light to develop strong stems and branches.

Just remember the weather is beyond our control and whenever anything dies, or snaps, it is an opportunity rather than disaster!

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