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Home > Essentials of Gardening > Weather > Key Elements
Key Elements of Weather in Gardening
Frost :
FrostFreezing temperatures determine the length of the growing season. Selecting perennial plants for your garden should start with insuring they will survive the winter. Annual plants that live only for one year or one season, such as petunias or vincas are capable of living years in a frost free environment. Knowing the first and last freeze days for your year in your locality is definitely going to help towards successful gardening.

Extreme heat stresses plants and can even result in their demise. Some countries also have horticulture society determined heat zones based on the average number of days per year with temperature greater than 85 degrees F.

WindTranspiration from the plants and evaporation from the soil causes significant moisture loss. Since wind enhances evaporation and transpiration on a hot day the wind will increase water needs, which could dehydrate the plant. Knowing the average wind speed and direction in your local area can help you plan for better gardening. You can reduce the air circulation by building fences and planting hedges.

Plant tissues must contain enough water to keep their cells active. Some plants may be advertised as draught tolerant but no plant can survive becoming completely dry. Too much water can cut off the oxygen supply to the roots. Knowing the local seasonal rainfall averages can help determine which plants may need additional water or special planting requirements.

Many gardeners will continue to see the effects of recent storm activity for many weeks to come. The immediate effects include breakage of tree and shrub limbs and other plants. Branches that were damaged but not broken off completely may continue to dry out and die back over time. It`s best to prune out affected branches by cutting back to a side bud or branch.

Key Elements of Weather in GardeningAlso related to recent storms is the drying effect of high winds on foliage. Leaves of flowers, shrubs, trees, and other garden plants will appear burned, particularly around the edges of the leaf. The symptoms are very similar to leaf scorch caused by extended drought and heat. In all of these cases, the leaves are losing water faster then they can take it up. Plants should be able to outgrow this type of damage, especially since we`re drawing near the end of the growing season anyway.

In areas that were deluged with several inches of rain, some gardens were flooded for several days. Waterlogged soils are deprived of much needed oxygen. This lack of aeration can lead to flower and fruit drop, wilting of foliage, root rot, and possibly plant death for tender plants. For more information on flooding damage, see Purdue Yard and Garden News "After the Flood; Garden and Landscape Plants."

Excess water along with cool temperatures can cause the appearance of blisters or bumps on leaves and stems. This condition called (oedema) is caused by too much water in the individual cells, which eventually burst. The bumps often become corky and brown in appearance as they dry out. Oedema is not an infectious disease, nor is it a serious problem. Plants will outgrow the minor damage, again even less a problem since the end of the growing season is near.

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