Stormy Weather Affects Landscapes and Gardens

Many gardeners will continue to see the effects of recent storm activity for many weeks to come. The immediate effects include breakage of tree and shrub limbs and other plants. Branches that were damaged but not broken off completely may continue to dry out and die back over time. It’s best to prune out affected branches by cutting back to a side bud or branch.

Also related to recent storms is the drying effect of high winds on foliage. Leaves of flowers, shrubs, trees, and other garden plants will appear burned, particularly around the edges of the leaf. The symptoms are very similar to leaf scorch caused by extended drought and heat. In all of these cases, the leaves are losing water faster then they can take it up. Plants should be able to outgrow this type of damage, especially since we’re drawing near the end of the growing season anyway.

In areas that were deluged with several inches of rain, some gardens were flooded for several days. Waterlogged soils are deprived of much needed oxygen. This lack of aeration can lead to flower and fruit drop, wilting of foliage, root rot, and possibly plant death for tender plants. For more information on flooding damage, see Purdue Yard and Garden News “After the Flood; Garden and Landscape Plants.”

Excess water along with cool temperatures can cause the appearance of blisters or bumps on leaves and stems. This condition called (oedema) is caused by too much water in the individual cells, which eventually burst. The bumps often become corky and brown in appearance as they dry out. Oedema is not an infectious disease, nor is it a serious problem. Plants will outgrow the minor damage, again even less a problem since the end of the growing season is near.

The best course of action at this point is to clean up debris and remove broken or heavily damaged limbs and plants. For larger trees that cannot be safely accessed with home equipment, call upon a professional arborist. Look in the local phone directory under “tree service”. It is wise to get several estimates and references from others who have used the tree service before signing a contract for work.


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