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Tuesday - August 26, 2008

From: Buckeye, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Watering, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Leaf browning on blackfoot daisy in Arizona
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Blackfoot daisy plant was doing great; then, in one day, it turned brown like it had no water. Have a watering system in place which waters once a day for one hour 1/2 gallon a hour.

ANSWER:

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot) is a low water usage perennial, heat and drought tolerant. One-half gallon of water a day, every day, sounds like overkill, or overwater, as it were. Good drainage is essential for this plant. If, when you water, water remains on the surface for a half hour or more, your drainage is poor, possibly because of clay soil. It's very possible that the roots of the blackfoot simply are drowning. Try these suggestions: First, trim off the brown upper portion of the plant, leaving any green leaves for nutrition. Then, put a good organic mulch on the ground, preferably compost or shredded bark. This will both add texture and improve drainage in the soil, and protect the roots from the heat. Moderate the watering to every other day, preferably not overhead watering, but a gentle soaking. Don't fertilize, you should never fertilize a plant under stress. Since this plant is a sturdy native perennial, even if it doesn't bloom again this year, it might come back strong in the Spring.

 

 

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