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Have You Had Enough Petrichor This Past Week?

By Doug Hensel
Doug's Blog

By the way, PETRICHOR is defined as “THE SMELL OF EARTH AFTER RAIN”.

To a gardener, rain is generally a welcome blessing.  Rainfall and plants are usually a match made in heaven.  We sure have had our share of rainfall, and petrichor,  this past week in the Richmond area.  Going into this latest rainfall, we were about 2 inches behind our normal rainfall for the year.  Well, needless to say, we are now in the positive for the year which is a good thing.  I had close to 5 inches of rain at my house Thursday night into Friday morning and over 8 inches with this latest storm.  Then, we had more storms and showers Tuesday evening.  We are saturated needless to say.  I don’t want to jinx this good fortune but sometimes there can be too much of a good thing.

With all the rain that we have received this past week, a lot of questions from customers who are concerned about future plant problems.  Customers are asking “will too much rain kill plants?”  There’s no question that excessive rain on plants can cause plenty of trouble in the garden.  So, what are some of the concerns after heavy rains?

  1.  Soil can only take so much water at one time.  After the soil has maxed out, water can pool.  Roots of plants can be under water for some time which can lead to root rot.
  2. Be on the lookout for an infestation of mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes are loving all this rainfall.  Eggs can hatch in just a couple of days.  Be sure to empty and remove all and any standing water areas.
  3. Inspect your trees.  A good friend of mine, who is a well-known arborist in our area, mentioned that the weight of water on all the leaves is quite heavy.  This weight can cause large limbs to crack.  And, this weight can cause trees to lean.  Trees that are now leaning can topple very easily in any amount of wind.  He urges everyone to walk around their gardens and landscape and inspect all trees for any damage.
  4. With all this rain, nutrients in the soil may have been washed out.  You may want to consider fertilizing all your plants.
  5. Once we dry out you may want to do some hoeing in the vegetable garden in order to loosen the soil and let some oxygen in.  But, wait for the soil to dry before you begin to loosen the compaction of the soil.  You never want to cultivate soil that is wet.
  6. Mulch is great because of shading the roots of plants and helping to retain moisture in the soil.  Well, maybe the soil around the plants need to dry out.  You may want to consider pulling the mulch away from under the plants to allow the soil to dry.
  7. Turn off the irrigation system.  Save yourself some money.  You don’t need to add to the problem by allowing the irrigation system to spew watering on the plants or lawn that is already saturated.

A NURSERY RHYME:

RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY
COME AGAIN ANOTHER DAY
MOMMY & DADDY WANT TO GARDEN 

(It should be MOMMY AND DADDY WANT TO PLAY  but I took the liberty to change it up a little)

This nursery rhyme seems fitting right now.  Have you looked at our extended weather forecast?  We have rain predicted again this weekend.  Our rivers, streams, and reservoirs are nice and full.  I just hope that come summer we will continue to have good timely rainfall and keep our yearly rainfall total in the positive.

HAPPY GARDENING!!!

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