When is it safe to have wet leaves?

Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)May 18, 2012

I see all these lovely pictures of water droplets on shapely hosta leaves, and I'm wondering about it.

When is it SAFE to let water get on the leaves? Can the leaves be washed off if they are dirty or have tree droppings or bird droppings on them? And is the rain okay as well?

I spent about 2 hours today in the heat, sweat running like rain down my face, salty sweat in my eyes so bad I could not see what I was doing. All to make sure I did not get the hosta leaves WET.


And it is because I'm afraid of the foliar nematodes. How is it that other folks can water their plants, cool down the leaves or whatever, and not worry about the foliar nems?

I am not talking about overhead irrigation, just letting water splash a bit as it will do despite best efforts.

Must I clean every leaf with a soft artist brush? Or can I in the mornings when need be give them a nice little bath?

I love the look of water droplets on flowers and leaves.

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Garden to enjoy - more big picture and less detail - you can't control everything.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 11:27PM
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Please tell me you are kidding.

They are plants. They get rained on on a regular basis and will be fine.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 6:50AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Dressing up the Hosta for their School Pictures? Do you hand out the little black combs too?


    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 7:01AM
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ilovetogrow z9 Jax Florida

I try not to water at night and when the sun is at its peak. Give those babies a shower. Have a great grow day, Paula

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 7:19AM
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Cher(6 SW OH)

To answer your question. I think water is fine on your leaves and is not a problem to over worry about.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 7:27AM
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Well, it seems to me that repeatedly touching all the leaves to clean them off would be more problematic than spraying with the hose.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 9:02AM
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I try not to wet my leaves unless they are dirty with tree debris and then I try to clean that off as it rots my cupped leaves. For me, the biggest reason I try to limit overhead watering is my plants are covered with deer spray and I try to minimize the wash-off.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 9:46AM
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Does no one else have the foliar nematode problem?
I have three plants in intensive care because they were afflicted with the nematodes.

I've read they can spread by water from their location in the soil up the petioles and into the leaves.

To keep leaves from dripping water on a neighboring plant, I've moved everything far enough apart to prevent it. Only, there will be splash from the ground in some cases.

Perhaps I'm taking it too seriously, but my poor afflicted plants look stunted with amputated stubs of petioles and only one or two leaves left. Radical surgery doesn't make for a beautiful garden.

quoting Robert Burns:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men. Gang aft a-gley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promised joy.

Aye, me wee hosta have the nematode problem wreaking havoc among them.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 11:11AM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

Moccasin landing,if I worried about water on the leaves,I would be a basket case! And yes,I do wash off bird droppings when I can. It rained last night,and the hostas are still wet.Also,there is dew on them every morning,which stays until evaporation takes it away. Pihl

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 11:19AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

a wax creates the blue

repeated hosings .. will wash it off as the season progresses .. especially in your zone [when the wax is warm] ... i would never spray such down, if i could avoid it ...

otherwise.. blast them ...

but one might suggest .. you need another hobby ... lol ...


    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 11:21AM
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Ken, you are so funny!
Okay, back up and take a deep breath. I am not really this
obsessive, but it does appear so doesn't it....almost a hypochondriac about the hosta. My DH remarked that I've gardened for many years but never with the compulsions I've exhibited over the hosta garden.

In my defense I point out that I've usually pushed the zone in the other direction--choosing plants which thrive in even warmer areas, not those from cooler areas. Unless you consider nasturtiums, which like it cool too. So with the cooler zone plants, I truly do not know how to behave. Once I figure out how to live with it and get a good night's sleep every night, I'll quit fretting like a new mama over every sniffle and runny poop.

Maybe now I can go back to my other pastimes. Get a grip.
Thanks, Ken.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 11:41AM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Moccasin, I feel for you. Nems are no treat, as anyone who has had them afflict their hosta and have dug them up to administer a hot temperature bath. I haven't TOUCH WOOD.

I researched the problem and came to the conclusion that in order to keep these critters at bay you have to increase the beneficial microbes in your soil. One solution I found on a website was to sprinkle corn meal around the afflicted hosta.

It also appears that nematodes are kept in check in sunnier locations in the garden

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 6:06AM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Corn meal has no basis in fact. It might provide some extra slow release nitrogen, but I'm sure it has no effect on nems. Moving to a sunnier location might have some effect in a different climate, but Moccasin Landing is in the Land of Humidity, so it won't matter. No one has researched beneficial nems so how do you know which ones to try? They can't hurt, but they might just be a waste of money.

One of the things I might try is to pot the plant in question, and take it completely out of the rain, undercover. Then water only from the bottom. Never let the leaves, pets or crown get wet. That might have some effect.

BJ, the best info about nems is Bill Meyer's article in the most recent online AHS journal. If you are an AHS member you can access it from the member's page.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 6:26AM
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