The Q&A Archives: hostas

Question: How can I keep my hostas from looking so awful by the time August rolls around. They turn yellowish, brown around the edges of the leaves and are not pleasant to look at. suggestions?

Answer: The usual cause of mid-season decline is heat. Some varieties are more resistant than others. They may need more water; the soil should be kept evenly moist (not saturated, but damp). If you have sandy soil, you may need to water twice a week during dry spells. When you water, make sure it soaks down deep. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is still damp, don't water yet. After watering slowly and thoroughly, wait a few hours and then dig down to see how far the water went; sometimes it is surprising. Using an organic mulch can help in keeping the soil moist longer in summer, it also helps feed the soil as it breaks down slowly over time. Using ample organic matter in the soil preparation phase can also help, as this enables a sandy soil to hold moisture longer. Finally, there are also some diseases that can affect hosta and cause foliage problems, several fungal problems can occur during warm weather especially if the foliage is kept damp. Keeping the mulch several inches away from the stems and avoiding overhead watering and avoiding watering in the evening can help. You might want to take some samples to your county extension for a more specific diagnosis, in case it is a disease problem. If it is something that requires a chemical control, they will have the most up to date information on what to use and how/when is best to use it. I hope this helps.

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