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 Local

3 hospitalized after vehicle strikes pole in Dayton
3 hospitalized after vehicle strikes pole in Dayton

Three people were taken to a local hospital after the vehicle they were in crashed into a utility pole on Free Pike early Wednesday, according to Dayton police.  The injury crash was dispatched just after 1 a.m. in the 4200 block, prompting up to three medics to respond to the scene. All three occupants’ injuries are believed to be non-life...
WPAFB Wednesday Weather: Fog, showers possible mid-week
WPAFB Wednesday Weather: Fog, showers possible mid-week

WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE—Waking up mild and muggy with temperatures rising out of the 60s, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs. There’s a slight chance of a stray shower before 9 a.m., along with a few areas of patchy fog possible. The afternoon will be very warm and muggy with highs in the upper 80s. Partly...
State leaders cite 16 ‘challenges’ in Dayton schools that need work
State leaders cite 16 ‘challenges’ in Dayton schools that need work

With potential state takeover one year away, Ohio Department of Education officials on Tuesday told Dayton Public Schools they need to improve in leadership, curriculum, hiring and other areas. A team of ODE officials gave the school board a long “district review” presentation — which was not on Tuesday’s meeting agenda &mdash...
A colorful story: Welcome to Leslie’s house
A colorful story: Welcome to Leslie’s house

The minute you meet Leslie, your heart is happy. She is one of those people who radiates sunshine. So when I found out Anne, one of our designers, was going to be working with Leslie to help her bring all that light and love to her interior design, I couldn’t wait to see what this talented team would come up with. Like Leslie, the story of her...
Choose natural fixture colors to match your environment
Choose natural fixture colors to match your environment

Q: Dear Ed, my husband and I are lucky to retire in a small house in a seaside community. We plan to remodel the kitchen and wanted to ask about kitchen decorating choices to blend in with our surroundings. Can you please give us some ocean-inspired kitchen ideas? — Dottie, Rhode Island A: It’s a good practice to include a little of your...
More Stories