Here in the southeast, where summer temperatures can become quite high accompanied by suffocating humidity, it is not uncommon to have plants that wither on hot afternoons. Withering of tomatoes, peppers and some other crops is common, especially when the scorching afternoon sun reaches them daily. Occasionally, they recover when temperatures cool later in the day, but this is not always the case.
Treat by wilt when irrigation is not the solution
Obviously, if the plants have dried out, it may be necessary to water them. For example, if the soil is dry three inches (7.6 cm.) Downwards, for example, water is definitely needed. That said, don’t interrupt your regular watering schedule. If it is determined that the plant needs water, do so when the daytime temperatures cool down. Do not water while the sun hits the plant.
Sometimes, irrigation is not the answer at all. You could experiment with plants that wilt for other reasons and more water will not solve the problem. In some cases, water could be the problem. Plants that have been watered and planted in the soil that do not drain properly can be wet and suffocating. This can happen after a prolonged rain event or if the plant is watered too much.
Eventually, the soil will dry out and the plant will recover. You can eventually change the soil with compost if the plant is young and looks like it is recovering. Learn from this experience and always sow in well-draining soil. Plants soaked in water can experience diseases such as root rot or wilt that results from splashing water. Wilted plants can be fungal or bacterial and enter the plant’s vascular system. There it attacks the vascular walls, blocking the growing tissue, which creates leaves, branches and stems that dry out.
Fertilization can also be the problem. Too little fertilization can encourage plants to wilt, as well as too much. Think back to your fertilization schedule this season. Again, modify the soil with good compost before planting to provide natural nutrients.
How to fight Wilt in the Garden
There are numerous forms of wilting. The withering of Fusarium and Verticillium are among the common culprits and carry pathogens that create a long-term problem in the soil. Usually, the lower leaves begin to turn yellow in addition to wilting. If left untreated, it spreads to nearby sensitive crops.
Once these pathogens have settled in the soil, they can persist for 3-5 years, even after the problematic plants have been removed. Most often it affects plants of tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines and pepper. Wilting can also affect some berries and fruit tree branches.
It is a gardening problem that I have faced and I know all too well. Dealing with wilt in the garden isn’t impossible, however. Here are some things I learned to help fight problems with Wilt:
- Treat the soil with sunburn.
- Practice above all the sanitation.
- Choose wilt resistant plants.
- Plant in the right soil.
- Rotate your crops.
- Water without splashing; drip irrigation at the roots is better.