Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Problem Area - Physiological Disorders ... Water Logging and Drought!

Good Morning!
Last week I covered the topic of Frost which is a 'Physiological Disorder'.
This is a disturbance in the normal function of the processes within a plant i.e. involving the cells of a plant and the processes which take place within a plant. These are direct results of the natural environment, are not infectious and cannot transfer plant to plant.
This topic may seem a little boring, but it's good to know these basics.

Water logging can be a familiar problem at this time of year!
Water logging is excess water unable to drain away, causing anaerobic soil conditions which leads to die back. Short lived floods after heavy rain fall rarely cause damage to plants, however prolonged, saturated soil can be problematic. Lawns are prone to being affected.

The symptoms aren't always easy to tell from other problems but here are a few to look for ...
- Discolouration on the leaves, turning yellow or decaying between the veins.
This results in soft areas at the base or centre of the leaf.
- Ironically the plant looks as if it is wilting from lack of water.
- If you check the roots they may be rotting or already rotted away, blackened and producing a sour rotten smell.
- Die back of shoots.
- Herbaceous plants may fail to sprout in the Spring, others may appear stunted or unfortunately die.

- Adequate drainage holes which are unblocked are a must for container grown plants, this allows excess water to drain away.
- Do not plant plants in areas where standing water is a frequent and prolonged problem.
- Improve drainage by adding grit and organic matter to your soil throughout the year.
In autumn spike holes into your lawn to help water drain away.
- Ensure that there is adequate spoil depth for your plants to root into when planting.
- Avoid walking on lawns that are affected.

Physiological drought usually occurs during the Winter - Spring period.
Cold winds increase the transpiration rates and cold soil also prevents root hair development and the plant absorbing water.

Plants take on a brown discolouration along with the below factors ...
- Prolonged Dry Soil, has insufficient water available.
- Frozen Soil, no water available.
- Frozen Plant Stems.
- Plant growth seems checked, the foliage / stems / buds wilt leading to eventual die back.

- Incorporate methods of irrigation, ideally planned and installed before planting.
- Borders with a deep, water holding Topsoil and good drainage.
- When planting always ensure you plant them firmly at the correct depth and water in well.
Inadequate watering during the period of your plants becoming established can result in plant die back.

I hope you have found this helpful!

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