I was waling around the yard when it was 100 degrees out, and saw the rhubarb leaves wilting. Is this a sign I should probably water them?

They did perk up after I turned the hose on them slowly.

  • Is this the first year it's been in that spot? Where do you live? Commented May 29, 2018 at 23:54
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    this is the 3+ year of having it in its spot, and it is in full sun. Commented May 30, 2018 at 3:16
  • Have you done a soil test? I have a hunch that your potassium and/or phosphorus might be low. Like stormy says, wilting can mean something's wrong with the roots (and I say, that might be because of a lack of potassium or phosphorus and/or an over-abundance of nitrogen). Commented May 30, 2018 at 5:24

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Watering gets tricky if soil has not been constantly watered. It becomes hydrophobic and sheds water like plastic. You have to water before run off and then water again and then water again. Stick your hose down into the soil. I've found animals tunnels that collect and divert an awful lot of water doing this. You'll be able to tell. Overhead watering with oscillating sprinklers do the best job of rehydrating the soil. Watering by hand usually means plants and soil aren't getting enough water.

Test after watering to see how far down the moisture gets in the soil. Use a shovel. Plants are able to show you wilt so you can water them a FEW TIMES. Too many wilts mean a slow demise. Otherwise, plants will perk right up if you have watered them on time.

Wilt is a sign us gardeners need to learn. A little late into the game it is obvious they are wilted. You want to learn what wilt looks like early early early. There is a muting of the color and texture of the leaves for one. Wilting can mean root rot or it can mean too little water or a number of issues. The signs are subtle at first but when you learn to see a plant in stress before wilting, you have a chance to save that plant (excluding blight). Or you have a chance to sequester that plant from the body of your garden.

  • And 100 degrees already? I would get my reemay out or shade cloth and cover plants with big leaves, such as Rhubarb. Fragile new plants.
    – stormy
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 23:02
  • Plants stop or slow metabolism down to a crawl about 85 degrees. Shade cloth or reemay with a few sticks to support the cloth above the plants to allow more airflow vastly help during high heat. Not only for spring and fall for sporadic freezes but for too hot summers as well.
    – stormy
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 23:05

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