Lawn & Garden
AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – As some may say, it’s coming a toad choker in Alabama! With consistent and unseasonable periods of heavy rain across Alabama and more predicted in the forecasts, gardens may begin to experience some unexpected consequences.
According to Alabama Cooperative Extension System Regional Agent Mallory Kelley, there are several fungal problems to look out for in gardens and trees during extensive periods of rain.
With high humidity and high rainfall quantity comes mildew. In the garden, cucurbit plants may experience powdery and downy mildew. Powdery mildew can even be found on dogwood trees. While the mildew may be the same, the prevention process is different for cucurbits and dogwood trees. For cucurbits, Kelley recommends using a preventative fungicide spray to help prevent the problem. As for dogwoods, be sure to rake up all leaves that fall throughout the season to prevent fungal spores.
“Fungal spores can overwinter on the ground under the tree making them more prone to occur next year,” Kelley said.
Aside from mildew in the garden, stay on the lookout for blight fungus on tomatoes. The best preventative for blight fungus is also a fungicide spray. If there are yellow and brown spots on the lower leaves of the plant, remove them as soon as possible. Removing leaves that are discolored is essential because you are removing the fungal pathogen.
“Mulching will help prevent splashing from the soil onto the lower leaves,” Kelley said. “This helps with prevention as well.”
In turf, brown patches can often appear. These can cause circular spots about the size of a basketball, growing larger over time. As soon as they appear, spray them with a fungicide. However, try to spray the spots when there is no threat of rain, at least for a few days. Kelley said this will allow for the best control of the patches. For most cases, fungicides along with proper fertility serve as the best preventatives against extensive wet weather. Plants love rain, just not too much.
For more information about gardening during and after a period of heavy rain, visit the Alabama Extension website, www.aces.edu.