Let it Grow: Hot, dry weather causes garden problems

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 18, 2006

With the hot, dry weather come problems of all kinds in the garden.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System&8217;s agents have told me of so many problems that I can only address a few.

Yellow Jackets are swarming and aggressive like they usually are in the fall. Because the weather is so hot and dry, they can&8217;t get enough moisture.

About the only way to effectively get rid of them is with drenches directly into nesting holes with chemicals you can find at your local co-op or nursery. It will take several treatments to get them under control.

You can also use baited traps to catch and kill these boogers. I have been stung three times in the last week just trying to locate their nests.

Also, if you&8217;ll notice while driving around, people are not driving defensively and being total meanies; just like yellow jackets. Slow down and be courteous.

Ants are on the move. They&8217;re getting into container plantings, coming into the house and even sucking the nectar out of humming-bird feeders and flowers.

Hay fields are so dry that it is affecting farmer&8217;s crop production according to Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks.

If your pears are cracking it is probably due to inconsistent irrigation. The trees take up water when it&8217;s there and when it&8217;s not there, the pear&8217;s skin stops growing.

In my container plants this year, I added a product called Turf Pro to the soil and they have survived better than usual under these conditions. It has trace minerals in it and allows the plants to be less stressed.

I&8217;m not sure who carries this product around here but their website is www.turfprousa.com.

Blossom end rot is occurring on tomatoes and peppers due to lack of rain. Make sure you give your plants consistent water and never let them go to the wilt stage.

Speaking of wilt, there have been several complaints about wilt virus among tomato gardeners. The humidity is playing a big factor in that problem.

Let&8217;s not complain about the hot weather … it&8217;s supposed to be hot in Alabama this time of year.

Keep your plants watered and your birdbaths full and we&8217;ll get through this dry spell together.

For more on these and other gardening tips listen to Home Grown Tomatoes Saturday mornings from 6-8 on 101.1 FM, The Source and log on to http://HGTradio.net