5 Ways to Protect Your Plants from Heat Stress This Summer
Other than an active social life, plants have an entire range of other human-like behaviors. In fact, research shows that plants can choose their mate, cry out for help, and even fake an illness. So it should be no surprise that plants can suffer from dangerous health side effects from a lack of water or heat. Heat stress can occur from high day or night temperatures, overexposure to the sun, and high soil temperatures. This can mean more than just showing droopy leaves. It can impact plant function and development.
As summer temperatures begin to increase, it’s vital to protect your plants from heat stress. Let’s take a look at five ways to minimize the impact of the summer heat on your landscape:
1. Water Deeply
The key to keeping your plants hydrated in the heat is watering for an extended amount of time, fewer days a week. When you water frequently, roots tend to stay at the top of the soil, where they can get damaged and burnt by the sun. Watering deeper means providing ample water so that it soaks down into the ground away from the sun, and the roots will follow. It is also crucial to water when your plants are out of direct sunlight, either early in the morning or evening. If water drops are sitting on your plants in the direct sun, the water drops can magnify the rays and scorch your plant.
2. Add Mulch
Mulch serves a greater purpose than making your landscape look clean and pretty. It can protect your plants from heat stress. Mulch acts as a barrier and prevents direct sunlight from reaching sensitive parts of the plant, such as roots. Adding 3-4 inches of mulch can conserve moisture, keep roots cool, and encourage regrowth. A light dusting of mulch might save you money initially, but when the correct amount of mulch is applied, it can protect your plants from irreversible heat stress damage.
3. Limit Trimming
Avoid trimming plants during the hottest months of the year. Typically, pruning can spur growth, but trimming adds to the problem of stress from the summer heat. It is best to trim plants in mid-June and then again when the heat subsides, usually around September. Delaying pruning or trimming makes an impact on maintaining healthy plants through the summer heat.
4. Postpone Fertilizing
Adding fertilizer to plants is like supercharging growth, but it is stressful for plants to absorb the additional nutrients when plants are already under stress from high temperatures. It can make plants more vulnerable and more susceptible to heat stress. Plants can be sustained with the natural nutrients in the soil and do not need anything additional during hot summer months.
5. Grow Taller Grass
The grass is a plant we often overlook until it starts to brown in the summer heat. It requires proper care, just like other plants. One tip is that we set the blades on our mowers to a higher setting, so grass remains taller for the summer. Tall grass has many of the same benefits as mulch—it keeps the roots hidden from direct sunlight, reduces evaporation, and locks in moisture. Maintaining taller grass in the summer also spurs regrowth even during high temperatures and keeps your lawn looking healthy.
EarthWorks Plant Experts Can Help
We can set your landscaping up for success during the hot summer months and minimize the effects of heat stress on your plants. From watering tips to laying mulch, our experts can help your landscape thrive. You can visit our blog for more information on heat stress and the best sun-loving plants for your summer landscape.
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