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Even though we’ve not had a great summer so far in Hampshire, the leaves of many of my garden plants are suffering from scorch. It’s not just my own plants – I’ve seen leaf scorch on quite a few plants and I answered many questions on the subject at a recent gardening questions event in Singleton.
Many gardeners associate scorch with strong sunlight, but it’s not only sun that can damage plants in this way. In warm, wet conditions, plant foliage is often quite soft, and therefore easily injured. Wind can scorch leaves as well as sun (and we’ve certainly had plenty of wind in Hampshire). Heavy rain and hail will also damage plants, peppering leaves and flowers with tiny shot marks.
To make matters worse, water droplets on foliage can magnify the sun’s rays, burning leaves beneath them. This effect is exacerbated if the plants are in the greenhouse. I think this has happened to some of my ripening peppers.
Some crops, like tomatoes and chillies, can develop low calcium levels if they have been watered erratically. This makes their plant cells more vulnerable to scorch damage.
There’s not a lot we can do about wind scorch or damage from heavy rain and hail, but we can change our watering technique to protect container plants and fruit and veg from sun. Keep watering plants regularly, avoid leaving water droplets on leaves, and try not to water plants just before bright sun is forecast!
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