Weather Damage

The signs to look out for

By Bridgette Saunders

Photo:Frost damage on tomato plant

Frost damage on tomato plant

You may sometimes see the term disorder and this usually refers to frost, or wind damage, drought or waterlogging. 

Frost

Frost damage usually occurs with the first frost of autumn or late spring frosts - another thing to make a note of in your diary so you are ready with your horticultural fleece to put over any tender plants. One of the main problems for the allotment holder is the risk of the buds being killed on the fruit trees. Frost tends to roll downhill and that is why care should be taken when choosing your allotment site. This is also where a cold frame, cloche or polytonal comes in handy, or of course you can use fleece, straw or bracken to cover vulnerable plants.

Wind can cause havoc on the allotment, so again think about this when selecting your site. It can increase water loss, scorch the plants, and of course break off stems and branches. It will also put off pollinating insects from visiting your plants and this will lead to lack of fruit and vegetables later on.

Drought

Drought is another big problem, especially at this time of climate change, so make sure you water your plants at the most critical points in their life, for example, at the seedling, when transplanting and also when the plant is coming into fruit or flowering. Make sure you collect rainwater, dig in organic matter, mulch like mad and remove the weeds that will compete with your flowers and vegetables for moisture. Make sure you are aware of plants that need less water and do some trials for yourself to see how plants cope under stress.

Waterlogging 

Waterlogging is a problem for the gardener as it stops the oxygen getting to the roots. Leaves may turn yellow and start to wilt; of course you may also see your roots beginning to rot. This is often a problem on heavy clay soils so again add more muck and also grit to individual plants if the structure of the soil needs it.

 

This page was added by Bridgette Saunders on 29/06/2011.