I was watering my sunchokes today in order to give them a drink of water they needed to tell them to grow again, and noticed that they had droplets forming on the leaves. Why did the droplets form, and is this normal when doing a heavy watering (15 minutes city water pressure in a 10X15 edges hilled plot on a PVC drip system)?

  • At what time of the day did you water them? I get the same on potatoes at night, coming from air condensation. – J. Chomel Jul 13 '16 at 19:16
  • I was watering them at about noon after 3 days off at the "grass" level. – black thumb Jul 13 '16 at 20:45

This is the phenomenon of guttation when the humidity is high inhibiting transpiration, and root pressure forces water out specialised edge leaf structures (hydathodes). Once the water evaporates from the leaf, it can leave minerals behind which burn the leaves.

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I think the key to the question is in your comments - you were watering at noon. This means that the stomata of your plants were open to allow the plant to take in CO2 and let out O2. This also means that water that the plant takes up can transpire through the open stomata. This could be what you were seeing - or it could be that you splashed water on the leaves and didn't notice. In general, you'll get the most transpiration when the day is hot, bright and dry. This is a normal process and is beneficial to the plant. If this is what you saw, it is not something you need to worry about.

However, for more efficient watering, you should time it to take place in the morning or late afternoon. When the sun is lower in the sky the water has a chance to soak further into the soil and less of the water will evaporate.

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  • Water doesn't splash up 2 feet when the average stream gets to about 6 inches or less. The reason I just flood my garden is because I don't like to weed, so the nitrogen fixing of my sunchokes helps weeds grow while my weeds help the tubers grow. – black thumb Jul 14 '16 at 21:44

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