Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day.

Garden Clippings for Sept 16, 2023

Enough rain already.  Summer of 2023 is going on record as the rainiest ever.  For the most part, the above average rainfall boded well for gardeners, but didn’t please sunshine lovers and beach bums.

For farmers, horticulturists, and landscapers the never-ending rain was a mixed blessing.  Too often, workers would get up in the morning to do a day’s work only to find that it was pouring rain or yesterday’s rain caused a muddy mess for equipment.

Home gardeners smiled because they hardly needed to pull out the garden hose to water their flower gardens and newly planted shrubs.  Those with flowers in containers that normally require daily watering, were given a welcome break.

Trees and Shrubs, especially those growing in sandy soil enjoyed the constant water supply.  Established trees in the forest and mature trees in the landscape were hardly affected by the excess water.

Hydrangeas, Elderberry, Dogwood and other moisture loving plants were in their glory this summer, but many trees and shrubs in clay or poorly drained soil didn’t fare as well.  Plants that don’t tolerate wet soil include Japanese Maples, Viburnum and Lilac.

In the evergreen category, plants most noted for their intolerance of wet soil are Yews and Pines.  These conifers will produce less growth and take on a yellowish cast in their foliage.

Plants growing in waterlogged soil suffer from a lack of oxygen, leading to poor vigour, stunted growth and yellowing leaves.  We may think that plants enjoy water, but oxygen supply is equally important.  This factor is clearly demonstrated by trees’ roots that spread near the soil surface rather than growing downward where oxygen is reduced.

Fungus growth on trees and shrubs has been more prevalent than ever before.  The disease Anthracnose, causing brown blotches on portions of leaves, has attacked Oaks more than usual.  In some cases, Silver Maples and Oaks have already begun to drop leaves, a month earlier than expected.  Horse Chestnut, notorious for suffering from leaf blotch, are now almost fully brown and partially defoliated.

In most parts of Ontario, grass is greener than ever.  I’ve cut my grass faithfully every week all summer long, where in previous years a July or August draught allowed me to leave the mower parked in the garage for a few weeks.  Unfortunately grass will likely show signs of weakness next year, because grass roots were not strengthened this summer.

Other evidence of constant damp weather include mushrooms growing in the lawn and garden, moss growing in sidewalk cracks and green moss appearing on the north side of buildings, particularly in areas of shade and little air movement.