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What Happens to Ginseng in Too Much Sun

Why is this ginseng turning yellow?

The other day I just so happened to be right where I needed to be to see why my little 2 year old ginseng was yellow. How serendipitous! It gave me the perfect opportunity to make a post about what happens to ginseng in too much sun.

Day before yesterday I went out to gather some ginseng plants for show and tell for a presentation I did at Compton Gardens yesterday.

It was a cloudy day with a shower threatening.

Most of the plants still looked pretty good, in spite of it being late in the season. There were even a few berries still clinging and some recently dropped to the ground.

Ginseng in mid-September
This ginseng still looks pretty good even late in season.
ginseng in mid-september
This 2-year old looks fine, too.

This one, though, looked pretty poor. The leaves are severely yellowed and although that happens late in season, this was the only one that looked that way.

pale ginseng seedling
Only this one was looking so pale and I wondered what was wrong with it. It’s a 2-year old plant.

And when I was almost ready to day, the clouds parted and a shaft of sunlight came down to the forest floor. Guess where it landed?

sun beam on pale ginseng 9-16-15
A shaft of sunlight landed squarely on this one plant. Only this one and not the others.

Shade is so important to ginseng that this one little beam of light can make a huge difference to the poor little ginseng in the way.

[bctt tweet=”So amazing the impact a single sunbeam can have on a ginseng plant.”]

The thing is, though, that this plant only recently turned yellow. I check on them throughout the growing season and previously it was fine.

However, with the season changing from summer to fall, the angles of the light have shifted.

Now the sunlight is hitting the ground in different places.

Unfortunately for that 2-year old, change burns. Luckily it’s the end of the growing season for it, though, and it will likely be fine next year.

As long as we don’t get an ice storm this year that knocks out some of the shade-casting treetops in that spot.



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