Is it Too Wet or Too Dry?

One garden problem that we are seeing a little bit more this year than some other years is Pythium Root Rot. Pythium is a fungus that is ubiquitous in the soil. It only causes a problem when we have saturated soils for long periods of time.

If you remember, we had a very wet, soggy April and May this year when the soils were still fairly cool. That’s ideal weather for Pythium! The fungus grows when the soils are wet and infects the plants, damaging or killing part of the root system. You don’t even notice the problem for weeks, until the weather starts to get hotter. Then the leaves might start to scorch on the edges and possibly die, even if you are keeping the garden well watered. Because of the damage to the root system earlier, the plant can’t take up enough water now to make up for all the moisture being lost to the heat and wind.

It seems kind of crazy…too much water earlier makes it look like you are seeing heat damage later in the season. That just shows how important it is to pay attention to details throughout the gardening season!

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on August 17, 2009, in Plant Problems & Diseases and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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