In past years, gardeners and homeowners have meticulously rationed outdoor water in an effort to battle an ever-present drought.
Chris Ingwerson, an employee of Top Notch Car Wash on Belair Road, wraps up a vehicle before closing because of rain.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
Recent weeks of almost daily rain in Columbia County, however, have brought the county up to 22.74 inches of rain so far this year, slightly more than the annual 20.3-inch average, according to the University of Georgia's Automated Environmental Monitoring Network.
"Well, it's a blessing, but it's also causing problems," said Charles Phillips, Columbia County's University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent. "We've got disease problems on plants just going crazy right now."
The first 12 days of June already have brought 2.58 inches of rain, compared with a 30-year average of 1.14 inches for the entire month, according to the monitoring station at Thurmond Lake and Dam. That extra rain and the nearly constant overcast, hot, stagnant and humid conditions make the perfect breeding ground for fungus and other plant diseases, Phillips said.
Lawns and roses are at a higher risk of being attacked by diseases and fungus than most plants, he said.
Jenny Addie, the nursery manager and horticulturist at Green Thumb West, said preventing the moist-loving diseases is better than attempting a cure.
Addie said a broad spectrum fungicide available at most garden centers should handle the problem either before or after the fungus has appeared as enlarging brown spots in the lawn.
She said she sees both the upside and downside of the recent rains.
"In a way, you can't knock rain because water is our most precious thing we can have,'' she said. "If it was a drought, we would be complaining, too. And really, although it's bad for the plants in one way, it's just a short-term problem; whereas, if we don't have water, we've really got a problem."
The extra rain has affected some people in the area, though - mainly those who work outside.
David Williamson, the manager of Top Notch Car Wash on Belair Road in Evans, said the above-normal rainfall has wreaked havoc on his business.
"The way the weather has been lately, where it starts thunderstorming in the afternoon and whatnot, we try to stay open as long as we can," Williamson said. "It's like a cat-and-mouse game with the weather. Sometimes we'll open up for two hours and then it rains again. Sometimes if business is so slow, we have to cut our loses and quit for the rest of the day.''
On Friday afternoon, thunderstorms forced Williamson to close the car wash and send employees home nearly two hours early.
Williamson said other measures also are needed at times.
"Sometimes we have to stay open just to give our employees hours or they are not going to want to work for us after awhile," Williamson said.
For Ernie Blackburn, the owner of E. Blackburn Homebuilders Inc., the rain has slowed the building process for the more than 10 houses he has under construction. He said it hasn't stopped construction.
"It's an inconvenience, but it has not handicapped us that much," said Blackburn, adding that on rainy days, his crews work on the interiors. "It has not been as bad as most people would think.''
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