Has the summer heat already hit your area? According to a three-month outlook from The Weather Company, an IBM Business, “Summer 2021 is expected to be hot across much of the nation, particularly in the western and central United States”. The Farmer’s Almanac is saying the same thing, “Summer temperatures are predicted above-normal for two-thirds of the country, especially in the South and East. Typically, the hottest weather can be expected in late July or early August, with the peak coming in late August into early September”.
With the anticipation of this heat, we have put together 6 tips for keeping your plants in shape.
Tip 1 – Water Your Plants Effectively
Water your plants early in the morning when the sun is not strong, and the air and ground are cool. The best time is between 5 am and 10 am. When you water make sure to water at the base of the plant and water deeply. Watering lightly causes shallow root growth. Watering at the base of the plant will keep the foliage from getting wet which can cause fungus problems. With the hot temperatures, the roots will grow deeper in the ground to stay cool. Vegetables might need watering more often when it is really hot. If you have containers, you will have to water often, probably once a day. If you can install an irrigation system, make sure it is close to the ground. A soaker hose is especially great for vegetables. Just make sure you don’t overwater the plants because that can kill them.
Tip 2 – Hold Off On Planting
Planting new plants is difficult at this time. They don’t like to be swapped around, to begin with, but doing it when temperatures are high will stress out the plant. It is hard enough for the plant to deal with the hot weather but adding on the worry of adjusting to a new location, could kill it. The root system of starter plants is not as developed causing them to be vulnerable to heat. It would be best to keep them in a cool location until you can plant them in the ground. Try planting them when the temperature gets below 80 degrees.
Tip 3 – Do Not Prune Your Shrubs and Trees
While your plants may look alright if you try pruning them you will stress them out even more. You can prune them when it is cooler out. There is one exception to this rule and that is with your Roses. They can be pruned because they are more vulnerable to disease.
Tip 4 – Pay Attention To Your Containers
If you know anything about colors, dark colors absorb heat more than lighter ones. If you have a plant in a dark container when it is really hot, you can actually destroy a plant’s root. If you have a dark container, wrap it in a light-colored cloth to diminish heat absorption. Another solution is if you can put the planted container, in another container. This will provide some shade and insulation. Just make sure both pots have proper drainage.
Tip 5 – Don’t Forget To Water Your Trees
This tip is really important if you just planted trees. When you first plant new trees and shrubs you need to water them two or three times a week for the first month. After that, trees and shrubs need weekly watering during their first year. Established trees and shrubs (2 or more years) only need to be watered once every two weeks during the growing season, especially if rain is scarce.
Tip 6 – Use Mulch
Be sure to use mulch on your flower beds and containers. Mulch keeps the soil moist and the temperatures of your soil cool by protecting it from direct sun exposure The mulch will also reduce the evaporation of water from the soil which diminishes the need for watering. During hot weather, light-colored mulches reflect sunlight and help keep the surface soil cooler. Try using mowed grass. Using mulch will also help keep the weeds away.
Let us know if you have any tips to add that would help gardeners dealing with extreme heat!