Plants need water to survive, but too much can also be harmful to their health. Poor drainage can cause weeds, bacteria, mold, and fungi to flourish. Exposure to these organisms and to stagnant water for long periods can cause your plants to get sick or rot.
Heavy rains can also wash away much of the nutrients in the soil. As a result, the plants may suffer from nutrient deficiency. This, in turn, can affect growth and blossom production.
A torrential downpour every once in a while isn’t bad. On the other hand, if you live in an area that receives plenty of rainfall, learning how to handle the excess water can help keep your lawn and garden in good shape throughout the year. Let an expert in lawn care in Blue Ash, OH provide you with a few tips for preparing and caring for your garden before and after the rain.
Before the rain arrives
Raise planting beds or rows
When living in areas that receive a lot of precipitation, preparation is key to keeping your plants safe and dry, even during the wettest of months. One way is to create raised beds and rows.
By elevating the planting areas, the excess water drains away naturally and keeps the roots dry. The raised mounds are not just useful during the rainy season. In spring, the soil piles speed up the drying process as well, allowing you to plant earlier.
Paths can be placed in between the mounds to limit movement and prevent soil compaction around the planting areas. During the cold winter months, organic matter can also be placed over the garden beds. Allow the organic material to turn to compost, and once spring arrives, your garden will be ready for planting.
Low box frames are an alternative if you want to raise your planting areas higher. There are shops that sell ready-to-assemble garden beds, or you can build your own instead of buying. Wooden beds are popular, although you can also consider other materials such as tires or concrete blocks to create your beds.
If you have a bigger budget, you can also opt for self-watering planters. What makes these different from the traditional frames is the water container at the base. Any excess water is stored in the reservoir, which can be used for later use.
Having a drainage system is essential in preventing your soil from becoming waterlogged. A proper runoff is especially necessary with gardens in low-lying areas. The trench or drainage system takes the water away from the plants, preventing water from accumulating in any particular area.
There are trenches more suited for short-term issues, while others are designed for areas that receive a lot of rain throughout the year. Consult a professional landscaper in your area to help you decide which funneling system works best in your situation.
Prune your plants
Before the rains come, take a trip around your garden and examine the condition of your plants. Remove any dead leaves, shoots, branches, or entire plants. Taking out the dead or dying parts early on will prevent your plants from tangling or snapping once the downpour comes.
Trim or remove any leaves that are touching or too close to the soil’s surface. Disease-causing organisms can quickly spread from the soil surface to your plant. By removing these low-lying leaves, you can reduce the chances of your plants rotting or developing diseases after a storm.
Provide plant support
Vining crops such as cucumbers and tomatoes are sensitive to strong winds and downpours. Use a cage system or trellis to train your vegetables and provide support. The design of the lattice and cages allows the plants to spread out, which improves the airflow around the plants.
Things to avoid before a rainstorm
Refrain from watering or applying any fertilizer, herbicides, or pesticides on your plants if you are expecting rain within the next few days. The heavy rains will wash away much of the chemicals and fertilizer that you put on your plants, negating your efforts.
It is also essential to limit the amount of mulch that you use on your plants to 2 inches at the most. Adding mulch can help prevent soil erosion and compaction. However, mulch also retains water and can cause your plants to develop root rot over time.
After the rain
Inspect your garden
Wait a few days before you go out to your garden. Avoid walking around if there are water pockets or if it is muddy as your movement can compact the soil. Soil compaction is bad for the plants as it prevents them from growing, so hold off on any plans of checking their condition until the water drains away.
If you were unable to elevate your plant beds earlier in the year, you could use wooden boards to get around your garden. The boards distribute your weight across a wider area, preventing you from accidentally compacting the soil.
Remove any excess water
Look for areas where the water pools. Try to find ways to drain away or remove the water as the excess water can cause the roots to rot quickly. You can use a bucket or even empty water bottles to remove some of the excess water.
Examine your plants once the water has completely dried. Look for and remove any dead leaves, broken branches, or any evidence of disease or rotting.
Don’t forget to check the base to see if the roots have been exposed. In such cases, you will need to add soil or compost to prevent the roots from drying out. You will also need to add some fresh compost to the rest of the garden after the excess water has dried up.
Gardeners hate slugs and snails for various reasons. Some species chew on healthy leaves and bulbs. Much like mosquitoes for humans, slugs and snails can also spread disease among plants.
It is best to remove any objects that would attract these pests and turn your garden into a bug park. Wooden chips and boards absorb moisture, so it is best to remove any pieces from your garden. You should also check underneath stones and rocks for these slimy organisms and exterminate the ones that you find.
Heavy rains don’t have to wipe out your dreams of building a flourishing garden. By following these tips from specialists in lawn care in Liberty Township, OH, you are better prepared to handle any storm or downpour that passes your area.