Summer Storms Can Cause Plant Damage

According to my crude calculations, we've gotten about 7.5" of rain since June 1. The Weather Channel lists the average rainfall for June in my zip code at 4.34". Without getting bogged down in the rabbit hole that is historical climate data, suffice it to say, "it's been wet."

The rain has been great for the Hydrangeas, not so good for plants subject to crown rot, including a Digitalis I planted last year. Excess rain seeks out the moisture-compromised and settles in as fungal disease that damages or even decimates a plant in short order.
Shasta daisy in serious trouble.

The Leucanthemum (Shasta daisy) I'd planted in a raised bed a couple years ago had never been a strong grower. I suppose it should have come as no surprise when the rain pushed it over the edge. The Chicago Botanic Garden published its Plant Evaluation Notes on Shasta daisies, listing a wide variety of cultivars that also succumbed to moisture issues.

A much more sudden and surprising loss occurred with Digitalis 'Dalmation Peach', a foxglove I'd planted last year and which had sent up a strong flower stem. It was going to be a beauty, I'd thought as I went out one morning to snap photos.

Digitalis after the fall.
What made it extra surprising was its relatively healthy leaves. Sure they were a little holey from chomping insects, but overall the leaves were fresh and perky.  From researching the problem, I found what I think might be the culprit, according to Michigan State University's Diagnostic Services page. Rhizoctonia solani is found in soils, and is more prevalent in stressed plants. And this plant, although stoic and healthy on the surface, was stressed from excess moisture.
Filipendula before the fall.

Other plants were bent but not broken. The meadowsweet (Filipendula venusta rubra) had grown so tall I had to look up to see its flowers.
But not after the double derecho.

Check out these photos and video of lightening striking the three tallest buildings in Chicago, which is less than 50 miles from my garden. The weather service predicted a Derecho. Our region was hit during the night of June 30 by a double derecho, which ended up downing trees, and doing a whole lot of damage. Luckily, our town didn't see the tornadoes that struck about 40 miles south of us. Our neighbors lost a fairly young oak tree, and lots of large branches were down the next day, but we were very lucky to just have branches to clean up.

The fall of the Filipendula after a severe rain storm on June 30.

1 comment:

  1. Our Filipendula came down with a horrible case of powdery mildew. It has been very wet here as well!