What's this? Fall in early August? Have you noticed an abundance of leaves on the ground or fall colors up in the trees in your yard, favorite park, or perhaps at your local walking trail? What's up with that?
The cooler-than-normal weather this spring delayed new growth in plants. With new growth being especially vulnerable to heat and drought stress, the high temperatures and sparse rainfall are taking their toll on many plants. This new growth is not as efficient at regulating a plants natural cooling process – transpiration. Once leaves wilt and turn brown, they usually fall.
Visiting Birmingham Botanical Gardens is an excellent way to observe these issues, as well as to observe which plants are better suited to handling heat than others.
--Katie King, Summer Intern