Thursday, Dec 18, 2014
Agri Leader

Too much of a good thing isn't always good for plants


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Central Florida has experienced a lot of rainy weather this summer. While moisture is essential to healthy plant growth, it can also cause a variety of problems when the soil becomes saturated. Here are a few things to watch for in your garden this fall.

We have had so much rainfall this summer, you might notice an increase in mosquitoes around your home. When rain water collects in ditches, flower pots and birdbaths, moquitoes breed at a faster rate. This can make it miserable to spend anytime outdoors, as produce itchy bites.

Mosqitoes are also known to carry diseases that can be transmitted through their bite. West nile virus, Eastern equinine encephalitis and St.Louis encephalitis can all be transmitted to humans and certain animals. These diseases can cause serious illness and even death.

Reducing mosquito breeding sites are an important part of keeping them under control. Look around your yard for any containers holding rain water and dump them out every few days. If you have standing water in your flower beds, you can dig a trench to help the water drain. Until the rainy season is over, wear mosquito repellant when working outdoors to reduce the liklihood of being bitten. Experts suggest using a product that contains the active ingredient Deet, for best results.

Your lawn grass may suffer from all the rain we have had lately. St. Augustinegrass is the most commonly used turf grass in Florida and is especially susceptible to root rot. According to the University of Florida, IFAS Extension root rot is most common during the late summer to early fall months, when the ground is excessively wet and grass is stressed.

Because this disease attacks the roots of plants, they cannot absorb nutrients properly. The most common symptoms of root rot are yellow patches on grass, black roots and areas of very thin grass. If you think your grass is suffering from root-rot, there are fungicides available to keep it under control. If you have large areas suffering from root-rot disease, it may be best to consult a landscaping professional for advice.

You might notice an increase in fruit and vegetable prices at the grocery store this fall. High volumes of rain might help fruit grow faster and larger, but it also reduces the sweetness of the fruit. Farmers are also losing their yeild because of all the rainfall, leading agricultural economists to predict prices to rise about 10 percent this fall because there is less produce to go around. Farmers growing cotton, wheat, hay and peanuts are having a tough time, as well. Experts are urging farmers to test the soil where crops are grown, to be sure essential nutrients haven't been washed away.

While cattle farmers have had green pastures for their livestock this year, they are worried about having enough feed to carry them into fall and winter. With such wet grass, it has been difficult to harvest enough hay for their cows. More rain also means increased costs of chemical products to keep diseases at bay. These things may cause an increase in beef prices at the grocery stores.

With a little luck, our weather will begin to dry out a bit as we ease into fall. Until then, remove standing water around your home and monitor your plants and grass for signs of pests and disease that flourish in wet weather.

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