Crops and gardens stressed due to heat

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Crops and plants aren’t just feeling the stress from this recent string of 90 degree days, they are also in need of more rain.

The stretch from June 1st to July 6th was on pace for the 8th driest summer on record, and this pattern is starting to impact crops such as corn.

“We think things like to grow in the warm days but even corn doesn’t like to grow very well when it gets hot out. Then the dry weather is kinda limiting that growth and causing those plants to stress a lot,” says James Wolff, the Ag & Natural Resources Educator at Purdue Extension, “We are even starting to see because of the lack of water, the plants aren’t able to take up nutrients, so they start to show some nutrient deficiencies as well”.

Farmer’s have to be ready for ebbs and flows in a growing season. For example, last year our region had a soggy spring making planting difficult, while this year they are having to deal with stretches of heat without much rain to cool things down.

It’s something Wolff says they are concerned about but it isn’t a crucial time, “Things were going really well and I think that helped some of our crops get a good start, and now we are going to hit this dry spell where they are really stressed. Right now it’s something that we are worried about and considering but it’s not hitting at the worst possible time. Usually when we look at pollination and the flowering of the plants in maybe later July or early August that’s a more critical time for getting water.

As for signs your home garden is in need of water, look for plants to start to wilt. Leaves may even curl to get the most out of the nutrients that regular watering provides. When it comes to watering, the time of day is important to limit the potential for your plants to get diseased.

“It’s usually best to water in the morning. When you water in the evening, that water doesn’t always get off the plants and it can invite disease in as it just stays wet on the leaves,” explains Wolff, “Also just try and water the soil surface as opposed to the leaves sometimes because that will reduce some of the diseases as you are watering a little extra.”

You can find out when we are expecting our next round of rain in the forecast from the Live Doppler 15 Fury Weather Team.

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