Dry weather impacting West Tennessee gardens

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — The warmer than average and drier than average conditions have remained in West Tennessee since the middle of June.

And now your plants may be feeling some of the impacts.

Dry Weather Impacting West Tennessee Gardens

“We’re already seeing lots of impacts from the heat and drought combination in home gardens,” said Celeste Scott, a Horticulture Extension Agent for the University of Tennessee.

While many plants grown in home garden this time of year are warm-seasoned, they still need a steady supply of water, that we are currently not getting, to continue putting off healthy fruit.

“Most of the things that are thriving in our home gardens are warm season vegetables that love heat. But again, they still need that supply of water,” Scott said.

Many plants that have been freshly planted may not sprout correctly or may even be putting off fewer fruits and vegetables than previous years.

Dry Weather Impacting West Tennessee Gardens

“You’ll start seeing blooms that don’t put off fruit or the plants will quit producing blooms because it’s trying to conserve energy to keep its foliage alive, like the actual plant,” Scott said.

Plants in the ground are able to hold moisture during longer dry periods, but those potted above ground do not have the same ability due to the amount of drainage in the pots.

“Container garden, pots, and things of that nature. Things that are growing in our native soil, that soil is holding our moisture more deeply. So we really need to keep a closer eye on things that are being grown above ground,” Scott said.

Sometimes plants may wilt more during the afternoon as they are conserving energy, and then they perk back up overnight once the heat dies down. So the best time to water your garden is early in the morning to prevent over-watering.

Dry Weather Impacting West Tennessee Gardens

“Wilting in the midday, it doesn’t mean you need to go out and put tons of water on those plants. They are having a struggle to keep up with respiration throughout the day,” Scott said.

The best thing to do to protect your gardens and other plants is to watch for wilting and moisture.

“Monitor for wilting. As soon as you see signs of wilting, you want to provide that plant with large volumes of water, and you want to water deeply and infrequently,” Scott said.

For more ways you can keep your garden healthy and flourishing in these dry and hot conditions, click here.

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