Neglect can happen for any number of reasons, maybe you were out of town unexpectedly, maybe life is just too busy to take care of a half dozen house plants or maybe you just plain old forgot to water them. Whatever the case may be all hope might not be lost.
The first step is to assess the situation and determine the nature of the problem and in what way the plant has been damaged. Once you know the results of neglect its much easier to reverse the damage.
Symptoms and Damage:
The symptoms of neglect are the same as symptoms already described in prior sections, for example if you forgot to water a plant for a week it may seem wilted or limp. Likewise if you forgot to bring your favorite ficus tree back inside after having it on the deck for the days sun and had an overnight frost the tree would be experiencing temperature related problems.
The key is to do a bit of detective work and determine where it all went wrong. Most times its obvious, just use the clues. When you know what might have happen just refer to the appropriate first aid sectionfor treatments.
First Aid for Neglect
Neglect needs to be addressed as the situation requires but a simple checklist can help to organize the recovery efforts for your plants.
✓Water if the plant is showing signs of dehydration such as plant wilt and dry soil.
✓Remove debris and dead material from around the plant.
✓Prune or remove any dead, infected or infested sections of the plant.
✓Apply any further plant first aid as required and continue to monitor the plant.
One thing to remember when dealing with plant disasters is remain calm, and not over-react. It’s easy to cause more damage when trying to save your favorite green friend so staying calm and carefully thinking it through is always the best option.
- Don’t shock a plant by removing too much of it at a time remove only as much as is needed.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for fertilizers and insecticides.
More information on General Neglect:
Fungus Gnats - http://mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/lso/fungusgnats.htm
Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sciaridae
Greenhouse Canada - http://www.greenhousecanada.com/content/view/1286/