How to protect gardens during summer heat waves
Summer is a season to relax and enjoy the warm weather. Basking in the summer sun is a great way to relax, but only when temperatures are safe. Summer heatwaves can compromise the health of humans as well as their pets. Gardening enthusiasts may also need to go the extra mile to keep their plants and gardens from withering in the summer sun.
Extreme heat stress can be very harmful to plants. The online gardening resource Gardening Know How notes that some plants may withstand summer heat waves better than others. For example, succulents retain water in their leaves, helping them resist heat waves when the canine days of summer arrive. But succulents are unique, and many plants will need a little extra help to withstand a heat wave.
Take a proactive approach with mulch. Gardeners don’t have to wait for the heat to arrive to protect their plants from the scorching summer heat. Eartheasy’s sustainability experts recommend using light-colored mulch during heat waves. Such mulch will reflect sunlight and help maintain cooler surface soil conditions. Eartheasy even notes that grass clippings, once they’ve turned from green to light brown, can be the perfect mulch to protect plants from heat. Newspaper clippings are also free, which makes them a cost-effective solution.
Water wisely. Yates Gardening horticultural experts note that water only helps plants resist heat waves when applied effectively. If the water is only applied in small bursts and not long enough for it to penetrate to the root zone, then the roots will stay close to the surface. In such cases, the roots dry out during a heat wave and the plants do not make it through the season. Timing is also essential when watering. Eartheasy recommends watering in the morning to prevent heat burns and to ensure that as little water as possible is lost through evaporation. When watering during a heat wave, do it by hand rather than using a sprinkler. Hand-watering allows gardeners to direct all the water at the plants that need it most during a heat wave.
Let your plants come in. When planting new plants, it is important for gardeners to recognize that it takes time for these plants to establish their roots so that they are strong enough to withstand heat waves. In the meantime, strategic planting can help them get through their first heat waves unscathed. Eartheasy notes that planting taller, more established plants can provide new plants with shade that can help them survive heat waves. Just make sure the new plants can still get the sun they need to thrive.