Wilting plants and shrubs do not always need water when sunny weather returns after a rainy period. In fact, the soil might be saturated making extra moisture one thing the shrubs and plants do not need.
Periods of rainy weather saturate the soil with water, forcing air out of the soil so roots cannot breathe. This sometimes causes root death and plant growth slows down due to lack of oxygen and buildup of other gasses such as carbon dioxide or ethylene.
As sunny weather returns, plants become stressed and begin to rapidly lose moisture through the leaves. However, they cannot replace the moisture fast enough because water-saturated soil has stressed the roots. Once the soils become less saturated, the roots usually will re-grow and shoot growth will resume. Waiting a while before watering usually will alleviate the saturated soil situation.
Like many guidelines, these tips have an exception that pertains to potted plants. When wilting occurs in plants recently planted in pots with loose potting media, do not delay watering because the roots already may have used available moisture in the loose material.
Garden plants also may wilt during the hot afternoon, but typically revive by the next morning because they absorb moisture overnight. It is always best to water plants only when they need it. Check the soil around plants in beds or containers with your finger. If you encounter moisture, it probably is best to wait another day before watering.
Kelly R. Jackson is the Christian County Extension Agent for horticulture. He can be reached at 270-886-6328 or visit Christian County Horticulture online at www.christiancountyextension.com.