Dakota Gardener Watering Plants

A fatal mystery exists.

In the middle of a severe and lengthy drought, garden centers report that customers are returning large numbers of dead plants. Closer inspection reveals that the cause of death is drowning. How is that possible during a drought?

Facing sustained high temperatures and the lack of rainfall, gardeners may overreact by watering in excess. Walking the fine line between over- and underwatering is possible but requires good technique and a knowledge of plant science.

Gardeners will be surprised to learn that wilting leaves are a classic sign of over- and underwatering. Saturating the soil suffocates the plant because water fills the air spaces in the soil. Consequently, the plant roots are unable to extract the oxygen they need and may succumb to rot fungi. As the roots die, the plant may wilt.

Read the full story in your Monday, July 26th Times-Record online edition. Purchase your online copy by clicking subscribe in the top left corner of the www.times-online.com home page.

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