Unseasonably cooler temperatures for the month of May offers another challenge for cold-crop growers in Michigan. On top of that, drought conditions and the lack of precipitation on the way over the next week will reinforce the need to water.

Bob Coward, the co-host of the Garden Show on WBCK, discussed the critical status of several of the cooler plants including strawberries and blueberries. Even though these types of berries can sustain cold temperatures, that only happens when they have reached maturity. During the growing process, it's critical to keep them covered during the frigid temperatures at night. Uncovering them during the day is not a bad thing as these crops are in the stage of pollinizing with the help of bees.

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The frost damage over the last few weeks is also starting to show on trees that also struggle with colder temperatures. Japanese maples and wisteria are starting to see some of their blooms wilt and fall in the area. Several trees are also struggling to survive due to the lack of water.

Good news is on way. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is that temperatures are expected to be well above normal along with above normal precipitation during the span of May 17th and May 23rd. The precipitation will be much need for the remainder of the month if we are expecting to reach our average this month. The average for May is a 4.42 inches of precipitation. We have only received .34 inches of rain through the first 10 days of this month (over half of it came on May 3rd). May has been our wettest month over the last 25 years on average, and it does not look like we'll catch up.

The 8-to-14 day temperature and precipitation outlook for May 17-23, 2021. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

For the second straight week, the entire Lower Peninsula of Michigan is in moderate drought. The extreme southwest is still abnormally dry, but areas of Cass and St. Joseph County have since improved. The drought status in the Upper Peninsula has also not change with moderate drought continuing in the Eastern UP and abnormal drought just east of the Munising area.

The drought monitor for Michigan as of May 4, 2021. (Authored by David Simeral of the Western Regional Climate Center through the US Drought Monitor)

For more on what we need to do during yet another dry week, here's Bob with this week's Garden Show Update.

Be sure to tune in to the Garden Show every Saturday during the spring and summer months on 95.3 WBCK. Call 269-441-9595 with your gardening question, email co-host Nathan Adams or join us through the App Chat function on the WBCK app.

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