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Question: 39-5201
My Impatiens have become defoliated and the bottoms are very hard. I have a peat moss mulch in the bed. Whatžs the problem? Lois, Newport, RI

Mort's Answer:
Soils in Newport are very heavy clay. Clay soils donžt allow drainage of the water. Putting peat moss on top of the clay only absorbs more moisture and doesnžt allow air to reach the roots. Your patience may have a fungus. Stop watering, so that you donžt lose your patience and suffer remorse. Next year rototill the peat into the clay and add about 1/3 sand to that area. This will provide adequate drainage.

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Question: 40-5201
My Impatiens have a lot of blooms but are turning yellow in the leaves. What could be the solution? Tim, Taylorville, IL

Mort's Answer:
Yellowing is most often a sign of too much water. Patience love cooler temperatures. A cool south facing window is always best. If the plants are root bound, you need to put them in two inch larger clay pots. Try fertilizing with a weak solution of 5-10-10 with chelated iron.

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Question: 317-5201
Three weeks ago I mulched my Impatiens with cedar bark mulch. Since then the Impatiens have started to yellow and lost their vigor. What can we do? Fred, Newport, RI

Mort's Answer:
If you have continued to water at the same rate as did prior to the mulching then you are watering too much. The advantage of using mulch is that you do not need too water as often, if at all. Excess water can cause root rot and botrytis. I would pull away the mulch from the roots and cultivate about a foot from the stem. This will aerate the soil. You can dust the soil with Bordeaux Mix to prevent fungal growth. Many folks are having water problems from over watering. In times of drought this is a likely over compensation but it is not the right solution.

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