- Author: Melissa G. Womack
- Author: Missy Gable
[From the UC Master Gardener Program Statewide Blog]
Proper irrigation and drainage are critically important for the health of plants and trees. But what happens when Mother Nature throws an atmospheric river curveball, and your yard or garden is now under water from heavy rains or floods?
Good garden soil contains a network of pore spaces filled with water and air. Both are necessary for healthy roots and beneficial soil-dwelling organisms. When the pore spaces fill with water, air is no longer available to the root system, and the roots become susceptible to root-rot organisms. Understanding the effects of flooding on plant health and caring for them after a flood event is important to saving your plants and garden.
Once the floodwaters have receded, assess the damage to your garden and begin the recovery process. There are a few things you can do to minimize the damage to your plants from flooding:
- Remove any debris, such as mud and silt, that may have shifted and accumulated on your plants.
- If the soil is waterlogged, improve drainage by digging ditches or furrows to redirect water away from plants.
- Check the soil for compaction and loosen it up with a garden fork. This will help to improve drainage and make it easier for water and nutrients to reach the roots of your plants.
- Wait until the soil dries out before working with it in order to reduce additional compaction. Avoid walking on waterlogged soil to prevent compaction and further root damage. Stay off a boggy lawn!
- Inspect your plants for damage to the roots, leaves, and stems. Remove any damaged parts, and prune your plants back to healthy growth if necessary.
- Remove contaminated material. Consider that any garden produce touched by floodwater may be contaminated and discard it. While the risk of contamination is low in residential areas, runoff from septic systems, pastures, or industrial areas can carry potentially harmful microbes and chemicals.
- Monitor your plants closely for signs of stress, such as wilting or discoloration, and address any issues that arise as soon as possible.
- Once dry, start to water your plants gently and gradually to help them acclimate to the new soil conditions.
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Recovering from a flood can be a difficult and time-consuming process, but with proper care and attention, your garden can recover and thrive. The UC Master Gardener Program is available to help! For gardening questions and local county resources, click here to Find a Program. You will be redirected to your local county website and contact information.
Source: Flood: Plant Stress in Extreme Wet Conditions, https://marinmg.ucanr.edu/PROBLEMS/EXTREME_CONDITIONS/Flood/
- Author: Anne Schellman
Why spray for peach leaf curl disease?
Right now, the fungus that causes leaf curl is present on your trees. Once spring arrives, its spores “move” via water droplets splashed onto developing leaves. When the environment is right, these spores invade newly developing leaves, growing in between leaf cells and causing distortion of cells.
Symptoms of peach leaf curl disease include puckering leaves that curl and turn a reddish color. Often the entire first set of leaves may drop off. When new leaves begin to grow, these leaves are also infested. Twigs and shoots distort and often die. Fruit is rarely affected. However, left untreated, nectarine and peach trees begin to decline and fruit production is substantially reduced.
Often when gardeners see symptoms of leaf curl disease on their tree, they are tempted to pull off the affected leaves, thinking this will help. Unfortunately, there is little to do at this point to control the disease.
Insects, diseases, and weeds are pests, and products used to kill them are called pesticides. Whether a product is organic or not, it can still have an impact on you and/or the environment, so be sure to follow the directions on the product label regarding personal protection, correct mixing, and application. When spraying, make sure to coat the tree until the product is dripping off. Come spring, your peach and nectarine tree trees should leaf out and grow vigorously, followed by a healthy crop of fruit.
Learn more about peach leaf curl by visiting the UC IPM website and reading their Quick Tips on it at http://ipm.ucanr.edu/QT/peachleafcurlcard.html For more detailed information about this disease, read the Pest Notes at http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7426.html
Bare root fruit trees are arriving in nurseries and garden centers. If you are thinking about planting fruit trees but aren't sure what to plant, how to plant, and how to care for them, you'll want to attend our online Bare Root Fruit Tree Planting and Pruning Class on January 25, 2022. More details coming next week.
If you have fruit trees that produce a lot of small fruit, you may be missing an important step in growing fruit trees called "thinning." Next month we'll publish an article on how and when to thin fruit from Ed Perry, retired UCCE Stanislaus County Emeritus Horticulture Advisor.
Anne Schellman is the UCCE Stanislaus County Master Gardener Program Coordinator.