Protect Those Precious Plants During Heat Waves
Finally the sun is out, the rains have slowed, and we can enjoy the time and energy we put into our garden in spring to prepare for a lovely summer. But when temps surge, baby, it's warm outside. Don't let all your hard work in spring wither away. Here are a few easy things you can do to protect those precious plants from the heat...
Water Early and Water Well
When temperatures soar, we tend to go into panic mode and water water water! Water is the answer but how, when and how much is definitely key during crazy hot summer days. While there are exceptions to everything in the garden, here are some basic tips to keep your plants thriving and you out of panic mode.
- 1. Water in the morning – this will prevent heat scald and evaporation. It will also discourage slugs and many fungal diseases. Rely on drip irrigation or soaker hoses rather than sprinklers.
- 2. Focus on a really deep soak every other day over watering multiple times using less water.
NOTE: In extreme heat, water small flowers and vegetables, and any newly planted plants daily, while their root systems are still being established. Also water potted plants daily, as extreme temperatures will increase water evaporation and dry out the soil quickly.
- 3. And finally, when you do water, be sure to water directly near the root area where the plants really need it.
Other Key Ways to Protect Your Plants
Hold the Fertilizer
When temperatures are high, plants are unable to absorb nutrients, leaving the fertilizer on the surface layer. Fertilizing can also cause a plant to go into a temporary dormant state which will ultimately slow its growth. It’s best to wait until the weather gets back to a normal, manageable temperature before feeding again.
Minimize Pruning or Hold Off Completely
While pruning typically helps to stimulating growth, it's best to prune less or not at all during a heat wave. Limit it only to dead, rotted or decayed parts of the plant as they are the perfect candidates of the pruning process.
Mulch it Up
Mulch will help retain soil moisture and reduces the rate of evaporation from the soil. It also acts as a natural substitute to fertilizers.
Let Sleeping Soils Lie
Don’t mess with your soil during a heat wave as it will worsen the situation by releasing the trapped water. Refrain from planting, digging and even weeding during really warm temperatures. Yes, in this case, it’s actually better to leave a weed be than to disturb the soil. You can simply cut or chop the weed to tidy up your garden as long as you let your soil be.
Create or Embrace Windbreaks
Wind be an huge instigator in drying out soil and plants. Create a windbreak with a fence or hedge. Be sure that it still allows for some air flow as to not create a heat trap.
If you have some hot spots in your garden, simply place shade cloth over your precious plants and this will help protect them during high temperatures. Shade cloth protects plants from the sun, pests and wind. Lighter fabrics are draped directly on crops while heavier fabrics are used along with a hook system.
If you have questions about these products or additional measures you can take to protect your garden during warmer months, stop by your local SummerWinds Nursery to speak with one of our Trusted Garden Advisors!