July Garden News

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Hot weather continues and brings stresses to plants as well as people. The stress may show up in several different ways. In tomatoes, some varieties will curl their leaves in response to heat. Another sign of heat stress in tomatoes is failure to set fruit consistently when temperatures are over 90 degrees. Peppers will fail to set fruit well in hot temperatures, also. Another possible sign of heat stress in tomatoes is hard, white areas of unripened flesh within the fruit. Low availability of the nutrient potassium in the soil can contribute to this condition. Potassium may be deficient in the soil, or may just be unavailable due to drought conditions or excess moisture in the soil. If you haven’t done a soil test in the last two to three years, you might want to do one to make sure you have the optimal amount of nutrients in your soil for your plants.

Trees show stresses in hot weather also. Some trees, such as yellow poplars and ornamental cherries, may drop their leaves in summer during times of heat and drought. For these species, this leaf drop is normal and of little cause for concern as long as the tree keeps leafing out in the spring each year. However, this summer we’ve seen a pattern across the state of trees suddenly dying when they’ve previously appeared healthy. This seems to be occurring where there’s been a very wet winter or spring, followed by a period of drought. Monitor your trees for premature leaf drop and dying branches. Contact us if you have questions or concerns about trees in your landscape.