My plants are feeling the stress from the heat, so there are some precautions I keep in mind when tending my garden during a heat wave:
- Ease up or discontinue fertilizing. Fertilizer makes plants grow and flower. To do this, they need water in an abundant supply. Unless you are willing to water a lot, I suggest holding back on the fertilizer until we get back into a regular rain pattern.
- Mulch can really make a difference in retaining moisture around plants. Mulch comes in many forms. I have used cocoa bean hulls, shredded leaves, and purchased bark mulch and Cyprus mulch. My mom has an abundance of pine needles and uses them for mulch. Remember to not pile mulch directly on the base of the plant. It needs air to breath.
- Water in the morning. Getting leaves of plants wet during the heat of the day can actually sunburn your plants and watering at night can cause powdery mildew and sooty mold that can harm your plants. If you are unable to water in the morning, early evening is second best, but not in the sun and not too late. Give the moisture time to sink in and evaporate before night fall.
- Flowering and producing plants need the most water. If I'm being selective about watering, I focus on these plants first.
- Containers dry out extremely fast in the sun! Siting the pot in a pan of water will allow the water to be drawn up into the plant, provided there are drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Watering from above, when the pot has dried out, does little good sometimes because it just runs out instead of soaking in.
- Protect your tender plants. Some plants, like hosta, need extra protection from the heat and a lot of water. You might need to move some umbrella stands from the patio to create more shade for tender plants.
I have always joked that my motto is "If God don't water it, then I don't either." This has caused the demise of many a house plant. (Well, that and my cat eating them!) My motto is out the window right now in this stretch of hot weather. I've worked hard to create the backyard oasis that we have, and I will water some to keep things alive.
I hope these few tips help you out during this heat wave. If you have watering tips, let me know!
Original Posting Date: 7-6-2020