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Wet Soils Causing Root Issues

Posted by Mike Roegge - Articles

The constant rains and saturated soils have been causing havoc for many growers. Trying to plant, harvest, control weeds and diseases and just about anything related to plant production has been almost impossible. According to my records, 16 of 31 days in May I recorded precipitation, 16 of 30 days in June I recorded precipitation and thus far 9 of 21 days in July.

Needless to say the soil is saturated with water. There is no oxygen. And when that occurs, root death occurs, as roots are living organisms and they require oxygen to function. When root systems are compromised in this manner, they can't provide for the plant. That means that the fruit that the plant produces can't receive the necessary nutrients to allow full production. We're seeing this in a number of plants that are in production now.

There are several factors that can influence the degree of loss. The ability of the soil to allow water to drain away or percolate through is the dominant factor. The better drained soils are allowing root systems to function more normally and thus they aren't as affected (although they still are, just to a lighter degree). And in some of the poorly drained areas, there is going to be considerable loss.

Most crops are affected, but the perennial ones seem to be most noticeable. These include blackberries, raspberries, peach, apple and others. Alfalfa, clover and grass pastures aren't immune to this disorder either. There really isn't anything we can do to prevent this loss, unless providing some surface drainage allows standing water to move off the affected area quicker.

And there are some folks who have already lost their annual plants due to saturated soil conditions. If it ever does quit raining, remember that fall gardens can be very productive. Of course, there are certain crops that can be planted in the fall, and these include the cole crops (broccoli, cabbage, etc.), greens (Asian greens, lettuce, spinach, etc.), radish, beets, carrots, peas, cucumber, turnip and a few others.

The biggest hurdle may be finding seeds to plant. You'll probably have to go online unless you saved back some seed this spring.



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