Drought, heat may mean shortage of pumpkins come Halloween

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The severe drought and high temperatures that have pummeled the state lately may mean a shortage of pumpkins come Halloween.

The state usually ranks between sixth and 10th in the nation in pumpkin production. But this year, out-of-state pumpkins are going to have to make up a jack-o'-lantern shortfall.

University of Tennessee extension agent George Killgore says the high temperatures and lack of water causes the plants to wilt and prevents energy from going to the plant's roots.

The drought and heat also inhibits insects that pollinate pumkin flowers. Plants that do survive the climate conditions may not bear much fruit. And the plants that do produce fruit will bear smaller pumpkins than usual.

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