Something’s Growing: How the smoky air may be impacting your garden

Smoke impact on plants
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 5:27 PM EDT
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STORRS, CT (WFSB) - In this week’s Something’s Growing, Eyewitness News is answering your questions and concerns about how the smoky air might impact our garden.

It’s a thought crossing many minds: if this smoke is impacting me, can it impact my plants, lawn, and trees too?

Day after day of hazy conditions due to wildfire smoke raises concerns.

There are a lot of potential impacts, especially if these events keep happening.

“Additionally, this particulate matter that lands on the surface of the leaves could interfere with gas exchange so the plants need to breathe as well,” said Evan Lentz, Assistant Extension Educator at UConn, specializing in commercial fruit.

If you water the leaves, it will just shift the matter from the leaves to the soil, so maybe water at the base of plants if you are worried.

“Let’s say that these do become more prevalent and frequent, some people may be concerned about their vegetable gardens, first people should be washing off their fruits and vegetables anyways,” Lentz said.

Impacts to annual plants are less of a concern since they aren’t around more than a year.

“If we talk about perennial cropping systems, like an apple tree or a blueberry bush, which is alive for decades, and we do have these events occur frequently, then we may see some potential effects there with accumulation of toxins and there may be some effect on the plants,” said Lentz.

Thankfully, Lentz does not see this happening right now.

The forecast for Storrs Friday is 50s in the morning, with breaks of sunshine and mainly dry. Then highs in the middle and upper 60s, and scattered areas of rain and storms.

How the smoky air may be impacting your garden