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Re: Watering hostas.

  • Subject: Re: Watering hostas.
  • From: "W. George Schmid" <hostahill@Bellsouth.net>
  • Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 09:11:50 -0400

Question re. hosta growth cycle and watering: Under a normal temperature
regime, hostas use food reserves built up in the rhizome during the previous
year to make their spring flush of leaves. Spring is usually a cool period
of time. Melting snow and frequent spring rains result in high soil moisture
content. Growing conditions are ideal. About the time the flowers scapes
appear, new roots form at the top and the sides of the rhizome. This event
varies in time. Early-blooming hostas form roots early and late-blooming
types may not develop new roots until much later. This process is based on
the plants' genetic makeup. In general, cultivars that have a species
background based in northern Japan (colder regions) will bloom early, while
those with ancestry in central and southern Japan (warmer regions) will
bloom later. In Japan, the rains come late in the season. Spring rains occur
in April and May, but most of the total rain comes in August and September,
the latter being the wettest month of the year. Thus, root growth is best
supported during these later months. Here in the Atlanta area, September is
just about the driest month and it is the worst month to supply moisture for
adequate root growth. It is easy to understand that any difference in the
timing and patterns of rainfall can and will adversely affect the normal
growth cycle. Given adequate moisture and normal temperatures, the normal
growth cycle results in an enlargement of the rhizome each year. We can see
that in our gardens as juvenile hostas grow into the magnificent clumps we
love so much. The plants will flower, set seed and end the yearly cycle by
going cold dormant at the onset of low autumn temperatures. But most
important are the unseen changes that took place below the ground: 1)
Enlargement of the rhizome with a food supply sufficient to support next
year's spring growth; 2) development of a root system which will provide an
adequate water balance in the plants. The normal growth cycle assures that
the root system is capable of supporting the transpiration rates demanded by
the plant's leaf surface. Watering has to be adjusted to satisfy the normal
growth cycle of each and every hosta in you garden, not an easy task - and
you have to know your hostas. George

W. George Schmid
Hosta Hill - Tucker Georgia USA
Zone 7a - 1188 feet AMSL
84-12'-30" West_33-51' North
Outgoing e-mail virus checked by NAV
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bygd" <bygd@execpc.com>
To: <hosta-open@hort.net>
Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 11:07 PM
Subject: Watering hostas.

> George, a couple of weeks ago you made the following post, and when I was
> rereading it again tonight, I decided I needed to ask what time of year
> add sugars to the rhizome.  While the majority of my hostas are doing
> great, I could make a point of watering during this important time so they
> continue to thrive and prosper.
> ______
> Don't know what too much snow will do, except to say my mother in Detroit
> never lost a single hosta to snow cover. I had them laying on top of the
> ground (by mistake), roots exposed, when temps went to minus 12 (almost a
> record for here) and they liked it just fine. So it's not the cold. In
> they sustain minus 40 in the Japan Alps, exposed on rock surfaces. Too
> water-holding good dirt during prolonged spring thaws can lead to rotting
> the roots got injured by prior frost heave. Nothing, but nothing will hurt
> hostas more than lack of moisture during the time they add sugars to the
> rhizome.
> W. George Schmid
> Hosta Hill - Tucker Georgia USA
> Zone 7a - 1188 feet AMSL
> 84-12'-30" West_33-51' North
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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