How to keep gardens safe in 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 the temperatures are safe. Summer heat waves can compromise the health of human beings as well as their pets. Gardening enthusiasts also may need to go the extra mile to keep their plants and gardens from wilting under harsh summer sun.
Extreme heat stress can be very harmful to plants. The online gardening resource Gardening Know How notes that some plants can withstand summer heat waves better than others. For example, succulents conserve water in their leaves, helping them to withstand heat waves when the dog days of summer arrive. But succulents are unique, and many plants will require a little extra help to withstand a heat wave.
Take a proactive approach with mulch. Gardeners need not wait until the heat arrives to protect their plants from searing summer heat. The sustainable living experts recommend utilizing light-colored mulch during heat waves. Such mulch will reflect the sunlight and help to maintain cooler surface soil conditions. Grass clippings, once they’ve turned from green to light brown, can make for the perfect mulch to protect plants from the heat. Clippings also are free, making them a cost-effective solution.
Water wisely. The horticultural experts note that water only helps plants withstand heat waves if it’s applied effectively. If water is only applied in short bursts and not long enough so it can penetrate all the way to the root zone, roots will then stay near the surface. In such instances, roots will dry out during a heat wave and plants won’t make it through the season. Timing also is essential when watering. Watering in the morning to avoid heat scald and also ensure as little water is lost to evaporation as possible. When watering during a heat wave, do so by hand rather than through a sprinkler. Hand watering allows gardeners to direct all of the water onto the plants that need it most during a heat wave.
Planting by taller, more established plants can provide new plants with shade that can help them survive heat waves. Just make sure new plants can still get the sun they need to thrive.
Heat waves are inevitable and potentially harmful to gardens. Gardeners can help their plants beat the heat in various ways.