We are entering storm season and various areas of the state will likely have high winds, excessive rainfall and hail. This column deals with what can be done to help our gardens recover.
Heavy rain: The force of rainfall pounding on the soil can result in a thick crust that prevents seed emergence and partially blocks oxygen from reaching roots. A light scraping after the soil surface has dried is all that is needed to correct these problems. Be careful of deep tilling as it may damage young, tender roots.
Standing water: Standing water cuts off oxygen to the roots, which can result in plant damage if it doesn’t drain quickly enough. Most plants can withstand 24 hours of standing water without harm. Hot, sunny weather can make a bad situation worse by the water becoming hot enough to “cook” the plants. There isn’t much that can be done about this unless a channel can be cut to allow the water to drain.
Hail damage: Plants should recover quickly as long as the leaves only were damaged by the hail as leaves regenerate quickly. The situation becomes much more serious if the stems and fruit were damaged. The plant can recover from a few bruises but if it looks like the plants were mowed down by a weed whip, replanting is in order.
Leaning plants: Either wind or water can cause plants to lean. They should start to straighten after a few days. Don’t try to bend them back as they often break easily.
Lauren Fick is a Cottonwood Extension District Horticulture Agent. Hays Office: 785-628-9430. Great Bend Office: 620-793-1910.