Field of Science

The garden needs rain, gentle rain.

Things are mighty dry, dry to the point where watering only helps a few key plants and garden areas. The majority of plants looked stressed, some only mildly, some very, and a few that were neglected during our 3 week trip looked dead. Ah, well. Our lawn had gotten to that crunchy under foot stage, but about that there is no worry given our philosophy of laissez-faire lawn care. The need for rain was so great that the Phactors watched with some anticipation the building storm clouds late yesterday afternoon, and the rain did come, and so did other precipitation, hail. Our gardens have quite a number of late summer flowering "magic lilies" (Lycoris squamigera), dozens and dozens of clumps, mostly a decades old legacy, but a quite colorful and cheerful one. Not so much any more. Our colorful display was truncated by getting a significant amount of our water in its solid state accompanied by some wind bursts. Unfortunately the rain gauge says the total was only 1/4 inch less than half of what's needed to keep things going, and one quarter of what was needed to begin to replenishing soil water. But to our amazement an 8 foot tall tower of cucumber vines survived. The danger here for the unwary gardener is the appearance that the storms delivered a significant amount of rain, which it didn't. Keep watering those new plantings.


patbronic said...

I have a question about fruiting trees/shrubs and drought. Do these type of plants ever compartmentalize their fruit production? What I mean by that, is might they focus fruit production on on or two secondary stems and give up on the extra supply needs for the rest of the plant? Our pomegranate did this this year and I was wondering if it was a fluke or a strategy.

The Phytophactor said...

Well, that is a good question. The answer is a definite maybe. Developing fruit becomes a resource sink, and it may be that the resource stream to the fruit starves other branches. However, often plants will abort fruit under stress. Without conducting some type of experiment, it would be difficult to know which is the case.