too much rain for sage and rosemary

bibbus(7b)July 1, 2013

Its the 2nd wettest June on record in E TN and my sage and rosemary have been affected. The sage has a lot of yellow leaves - maybe 20-25% and there is just a little yellowing at the base of the stems on the rosemary topiary. I wondered if pruning would help or hurt. I need to prune the rosemary anyway but I wondered if that would stimulate more growth and use some of that water. Maybe that is faulty gardening reasoning!

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nickl(Z7a NJ)

Both rosemary and sage are typical herbs in that they prefer their soil to at least partially dry out from time-to-time. The trick, of course, is that neither like their soil to be desert-dry either.

It looks like yours are not being grown in a raised bed, so if you get a lot of rain, it won't be to their liking.

What you've got is chlorosis due to insufficient drainage around the roots and a subsequent excess soil moisture.

There's not much you can do about that. Cutting your plants back is not going to affect the soil moisture level much. at all. What's going on has everything to do with what is happening in the root zone, and almost nothing to do with what is happening up top.

It's better to have these in a raised bed to improve drainage. While you do have to watch out that the soil in a raised bed doesn't become overly dry, that's correctable with watering and mulching. Soil that is too wet due to excess rain and insufficient drainage is tough to correct in the short term.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 2:41PM
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Thank you. Its funny because the opposite is usually the case in this bed. In July, August, Sept its hot and we've had drought conditions the past few years. So maybe the rain will stop. Usually I'm watering constantly in this bed to keep everything going.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 8:10PM
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If you fear that you are going to lose either of them I would take a few cuttings and pot the cuttings up as replacement plants just in case. If they do fine you can always make new friends by sharing any plants you do not need.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 11:46PM
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Lots of us are in the same club Bibbus. We had over 10 inches of rain in's still raining, and when it stops raining...the humidity will stay. It is what it is. A few years ago it was heat and drought and they were stellar. Now, a bit sad looking. Happy 4th!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 6:31PM
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I think you have all the advice already give- I just wanted to say you have a gorgeous rosemary "tree" there!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 9:22PM
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Thank you all! It grew so large and was shading out other plants at the time AND I love topiary so I shaped it into three little balls. Now it has two big and one little ball. Time to prune the rest of them. If it will ever stop raining!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 9:34PM
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