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Our house is next to a convenience store and car wash…

Sonnie Asked

Our house is next to a convenience store and car wash. Their refrigeration units are next to our property line, so we get a lot of water down that side. Cucumbers and tomatoes I planted next to our fence drowned and died. Is there some kind of tall greenery I can plant for privacy that will take a lot of water? Thanks for any help.

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The Gardener’s Answer

It sounds like you have a challenging space to landscape. A fairly consistent overhead/underground mist with potential harmful chemicals is a lot to ask of anything living to tolerate.

Anytime plants are exposed to an environment that is less than pleasing or even harmful, they will decline in health and eventually die. Foliar issues are more common when plants are watered incorrectly. It is important to water only the soil surrounding the base of the plant so the roots can take it up and send to the rest of the plant; otherwise, water remaining on the foliage can lead to mildew and other fungal issues.

In your case, it’s out of your control, so rethinking your garden space is the next step. The quality of the ground water should also be taken into consideration when planting edibles. Hopefully you have another area with good sunlight where you can have a vegetable garden. A raised vegetable garden may also be an option so that you can control the moisture levels. For a list of ornamentals that are tolerant of excessive moisture, click here. This publication is a reliable source from our Extension service in collaboration with land grant universities.

When choosing any plant, make sure to take into consideration available sunlight, mature size, and any restrictions in terms of surroundings. You can have your soil tested through the Extension service as well.

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