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Hot Temps.. Scorched Plants?

Posted - Sep. 29, 2001 at 10:33 a.m.



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Like the answer in all biological systems it is, “It depends.”

The best way to look at the problem is to look at what the plants are doing. Given the concern of government, church and other gardeners about water and drought it is important to make the right decisions.

Turfgrass is the biggest crop in most landscapes. Given the shorter days and the dew at night, it is possible to cut back the turf water considerably and still keep it green. Even if you totally stop watering the turf it will simply go dormant. This dormancy might be occurring several weeks earlier than it would otherwise go dormant but it will cause no permanent damage to the turf.

The same is true of deciduous trees. If the leaves are turning colors and starting to drop, they need little water to complete their season. For those trees that have not started to turn a reduced watering schedule will help them harden off for winter. If you have picked the fruit off of your trees it is ok to let them go dormant also. If you have late apples, do not let the trees become stressed.

Cut back on the water in the vegetable garden. My tomatoes have been slow like many other gardeners. Encourage them to ripen by stretching the irrigation interval. Less water will also encourage pumpkins, squash and other vegetables to ripen correctly.

Broadleaf evergreens and conifers should not get so dry that the leaves scorch or turn brown. Check the soil moisture by digging down a couple of inches. Take a handful of the soil and squeeze it in your fist. If the palm of your hand gets moist it is wet enough to support the growth of plants.

Be certain to water newly seeded turf, fall planted pansies and other winter annuals and of course anything in pot that you are planning to save over. Otherwise, slow the flow save H2O by turning off the sprinklers and letting the plants go dormant. Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticulturist Utah State University Thanksgiving Point Office

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