Wow, it has been a hot August so far! While we lather in sunscreen and enjoy the summer rays, how are our plant families handling the heat? Just like us, in extreme heat, our gardens need special care. Here are a few things you can do to relieve heat stress and protect plants during these hot, hot months.
Hydration is critical during the summer. But when is the best time to water? Mid-day heat causes water to evaporate before reaching the roots. So, watering in the early morning will give your plants the best bang for their buck. However, when plants wilt, there’s no time to waste. It’s best to urgently quench their thirst to minimize their time in that state.
KNOW YOUR ROOTS
Established plants can draw water from deeper in the soil, whereas young plants don’t have that root development. You’ll want to aim for deepwater two to three times a week. Remember, too much water can be just as damaging to your plant as not having enough. Feeling the soil for moisture can be a good indicator of if it’s time to give them a sprinkle.
Mulch can be a plant lifesaver. Adding a two-inch layer can help insulate roots from the cold and the heat. Mulch allows the soil to stay moist and minimizes weeds.
Leaving weeds in your garden or landscape means leaving competition. Because high temperatures quickly dry out the soil, you’ll want to remove all unwanted weeds, so your plants are not fighting them for the limited moisture.
WATCH THE WEATHER
As easy as it sounds, keep tabs on your local weather. By doing so, you have a heads up on possible heatwaves so you can prepare your garden.
CHECK YOUR CONTAINERS
Hanging baskets and outdoor containers tend to dry out faster than plants in the ground. This means they’ll likely need more frequent (daily) watering, especially when the temps are very spicy. A perk to a potted plant is that they can be movable! Try placing them under a porch or in a shadier part of your yard.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOU
It’s essential to be safe while gardening in the middle of the summer. Avoid being outdoors when the day reaches its highest temperatures. Try getting to the garden or landscape in the morning, when the sun is warm but manageable. While you’re watering your plants, don’t forget to hydrate yourself. Take breaks and work at a slower pace than you would if it were cool outside. Remember to apply sunscreen and wear a head covering, like a hat. When you finish for the day, treat yourself to a refreshing lemonade.
We look forward to summer all year long, but it can be a lot on our plants and us. Use these tips and continue blossoming. And, don’t forget to have fun!
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