If there is one thing that sets the South apart from the rest of the nation, it’s the heat! As the summer swelters, your landscaping might be taking a hit. When temperatures soar, there are some steps you can take to keep your plants alive and healthy through the months ahead. You are likely feeling the stress of extreme temps and your plants are, too. But these simple fixes might be enough to save them.
One of the reasons that plants don’t make it through the summer months is due to dehydration. When temperatures reach 90 degrees or above, water loss is a huge issue. The key is not just to water often, but also to water properly for extreme heat. Slow and deep watering at the base of a plant is the best way to help it retain enough moisture to survive. It helps coax the roots to grow deeper into the ground in search of water. If you only water the surface, the roots will be searching near the surface and will dry out. Make sure to water long enough to fully saturate the soil. And water frequently – two to three times a week during the hot weather months.
But Don’t Overwater
Yes, overwatering is a thing! Plants are like people and they shut down when the weather turns extreme. This means that they can’t absorb water. If you notice at the end of the day that your plants appear to be wilting, don’t assume that they need water before you test the soil. If it is dry, then you can safely add water so the plants will absorb it once the temperatures drop overnight. However, if the soil feels damp or heavy, watering more will probably drown the plants.
Check Twice for Safety
Potted plants are extremely susceptible to heat, so it’s best to check them twice a day instead of just once. Check the moisture first thing in the morning and then again late in the afternoon. Plants that are in pots are likely to dry out faster, so they may need to be watered twice instead of just once. Make sure to slowly and thoroughly water them. You don’t want to drench them and have water spilling over the sides instead of reaching the bottom of the container where it’s needed.
You likely choose your containers for aesthetic purposes, but there is nothing aesthetically pleasing about wilting or dead plants. Avoid using dark containers because they will absorb more heat than lighter ones. If you have potted plants, consider putting them in larger pots so they have better insulation. Also, consider the drainage factor of a container. If there is no place for water to drain, the plant will likely drown in standing water that doesn’t have anywhere to go.
Don’t Water in Full Sun
It might seem logical to water when the sun is beating down, but it’s actually not a good idea to water when the sun is at its highest. The water that collects on the leaves can act like a magnifying glass in extreme heat. It is reasonable to spray plants, but do this after the sun sets and only when the heat continues well into the evening.
When the heat is in full force, consider providing a little shade, like an umbrella, during peak sun times. Make sure that you allow enough room for air to circulate around the plant. Again, avoid dark colors because they will absorb heat and can burn plants. And keep the shading far enough away from the foliage that you don’t accidentally burn it!
Plants are creatures of habit and they like to stay put. If you move them from one container to the next, it can stress them out. Your plants are already fighting the heat – don’t make them work harder by moving them from one place to the next. Plants have to adjust to their surroundings, so let them stay put.
Don’t Remove Foliage
It might be tempting to remove dead or dying leaves, but don’t. The brown foliage protects against further damage, and while it may look dead, that might not be the case. There may still be living tissue underneath, so resist the urge to prune until the summer heat gives it a rest.
It is never a good idea to prune during the summer months. Pruning is a fall weather activity.
Make the Cuts
If you find that your vegetables have withered or blistered, it is time to make cuts. Leaving them on the vine will not save them; it will only drain the plant’s resources to produce more and healthier growth. When you remove the damage, the plant can start to heal and maybe yield more once the temperatures normalize.
As the heat rages on, how well are your plants weathering the storm? If they’re not doing so well, then these are some ways that you can help them better survive the next couple of months. Try these quick hot-weather tips to help your vegetation destress. Sometimes all your plants need is a little TLC to make it through the season! Contact Rollins Landscaping today for help with your summer-scorched landscaping!