Instead of blooming, the monsoon can simply wash the life out of your plants, leaving them looking more and more bedraggled as each onslaught of rain hits them. Here is how you can stop your garden from drowning in the rain.
Burnt leaves, snapped branches, waterlogged roots and fallen trees are common sights that greet one`s eyes in gardens close to the sea during the monsoons. During these few months special care needs to be taken to prevent foliage from getting damaged and destroyed. Plants can be adversely affected by the presence of too much salt in the air, sand lashing (if they are close to the sea shore), exposure to strong winds and excess humidity and water.
Rain bearing winds blowing across the oceans absorb a lot of salinity from sea. They also whip and carry along sand as they sweep over the shore. Saline in rain water has an acidic impact on the foliage, while the sand hitting against the plants at a high velocity affects them like sand blasting. Both have a highly corrosive impact causing the vegetation to get burnt and destroyed. The best guard against this onslaught is by constructing a protective layer of matting so that the sand and salt are deposited on this cover. If the plants are very delicate, the matting can be wrapped around each individual plant, encasing it entirely. After a heavy shower, the foliage must be hosed down with fresh water so that the salt deposits on it are washed away, preventing further burning. If there are only a few plants in pots on a terrace or balcony, these could be shifted out of the wind direction to a more sheltered area.
Stormy winds cause leaves to tear and branches to snap. They can also uproot shrubs and trees. Wire or plastic mesh entwined with twigs of flexible branches, make an effective barrier. It has been found that windbreakers with a degree of porosity work better than plastic or rubber sheets that are non-porous. Plants with delicate stems can be propped up by inserting support sticks in the soil near them and by tying them together.
The third problem effecting vegetation near the sea is excess water and humidity during the monsoon months. The soil often gets water logged, which, in turn, leads to rotting and decaying roots and dead plants. Don`t water the plants if the soil is already wet. Ensure good drainage of excess water from the soil. Sandy soil may be very effective in this respect, otherwise pieces of brick and sand may be mixed in with mud to increase porosity and avoid water logging.
Gardens that open directly onto the beachfront need a protective border of highly salt-tolerant plants. These front-line plants will form a natural barrier and take the brunt of the sea winds, sand and salt spray. They will also form a protective layer for the second line foliage that may not be so hardy. It is important that the plants on the front end are placed close together, so that they support each other.
Unfortunately, however tolerant these plants may be, they are still damaged by the rains and there is no alternative to physical protection.