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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

You Ever Heard of Guttation?

Q. I have never had a problem with pests on my little leaf Cordia plant before. I found a small round liquid balls on the edge of the leaf. What am I dealing with here? 

Guttational water from Cordia.

A. Great pictures and they help a lot. It’s nothing to worry about but it’s very interesting so I want to talk about it.
            I am taking an educated guess that this is water released from small openings on the leaf edges called hydathodes. The release of excess water from inside the plant is called guttation. Guttation is normal and it happens under certain conditions.
            . Basically, small plants can push a lot of water inside them through a mechanism called root pressure. Root pressure takes water from the surrounding soil, if there's plenty of it, and pushes it inside the plant.
            Sometimes the water pressure inside the plant can be so great that it needs to release some of this excess water. Many plants have specialized openings on leaf edges called hydathodes and this is where the water comes out. Technically, the process of taking excess water inside the plant and releasing it through hydathodes is called guttation.
Image result for whipping the greens
Whipping the greens for the US Open. from https://golfcontentnetwork.com/news/u-s-open/u-s-open-theres-nothing-quite-like-oakmont/ 
            It can happen on grasses a lot. Golf course superintendents are concerned about this phenomenon because the water coming from the plant is full of sugars. It can be a rich breeding ground for grass diseases. If this water rich with sugars stays on the leaf surface for several hours, disease problems can be a reality.
            Superintendents, years ago, used bamboo poles to “whip the greens” and remove this excess water from the leaf blades. It was thought by doing this the water was removed from the leaves and disease problems were reduced as well. Most now use a quick pulse of irrigation water instead.
            So, what does this have to do with you and your little leaf Cordia? If this is guttational water, the plant is telling you not to water so often. The soil is full of water. Make sure you give it a "rest period" without water before the next irrigation. Other than that, nothing to worry about.

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