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Landscape Tips in Extreme Heat

June 15, 2022

HEAT MAKES PLANTS

Thirsty

While your plants will definitely appreciate the sun, the hot temperatures of the summer months can make maintaining your garden more difficult. Heat makes plants thirsty the same as us, and making the necessary adjustments to your watering is something even experienced gardeners struggle with. Here are our top tips for keeping your plants looking cool when it gets hot.

Mulch

Adding mulch to your garden is one of the best things you can do to protect plants from hot summer weather. A layer of mulch conserves moisture and keeps the area around the base of your plants cool. You don’t need to get fancy with it: Shredded leaves, straw, and wood chips are all excellent options. When applying mulch around the base of a tree or in a garden bed, be sure to spread it out instead of piling it on, as a too-thick layer of organic matter can suffocate plant roots. As well, keep mulch a few inches away from the bases of trees; a mounded “volcano” of mulch at the base can lead to rot and disease. 

mulch
Watering Can

Watering

One of the most common questions is when the best time is to water, and thankfully it’s one with an easy answer. If you want your plants to be able to properly soak up the water you’re giving them, you should be watering them early in the morning. This gives your plants plenty of time to fully absorb the water and very importantly makes sure they have water before the day gets to its hottest.

Because extreme temperatures can impair plants’ ability to take up water via their roots, it’s also important to give them a helping hand by watering deeply. Water at the base of each plant, using a hose or watering can, and strive to avoid overspray on leaves. When the mercury rises, keep an extra close eye on your container plants. Potted plants are the first to suffer in a heat wave and will need more water than in-ground greenery.

Another way to make sure you aren’t overwatering is to first make sure your plants actually need to be watered. There are a couple of ways to do this. The easiest way is to check how moist the soil is beforehand. Using your finger, determine how wet the soil is and how far down the moisture goes. If the soil is properly wetted for a few inches down, watering most likely isn’t necessary. Another way is with indicator plants. Monitor your garden for plants that react the quickest to drying out, and water as often as is necessary to prevent signs of dehydration in those plants.

Weeding

Plants tend to grow like crazy in hot weather and weeds are no exception. If you don’t manage them during the summer months on a regular basis, then your beautiful landscaping will become overgrown with plants you don’t want. They will take away nutrients from the plants that you do want to continue flourishing, so be sure to keep the weeds at bay.

Pulling Weeds
Grass

Grass

Keeping your lawn short during the summer months actually causes it to burn. Allowing it to grow at least three inches tall in hot weather will provide shade for the roots and new growth. Further, keeping it a bit longer is the key to maintaining a beautiful green lawn all year long. If you prefer the look of short grass, feel free to resume cutting to your desired length once the temperatures cool come autumn.

Source: Felice Landscaping: https://felicelandscaping.com/lawn-garden-care/six-tips-for-hot-weather-landscaping/

Go Native

Drought-tolerant and native plants are better adapted to hotter weather and consume less water. Their root structures dig deeper into the soil or they know how to conserve water compared to other plants. That said, it doesn’t mean that they can just be forgotten about during the hot summer months! It simply means that they will perform better in hot weather and require less maintenance.

Hydrangea Invincibelle Wee White
Soaker Hose

Install Irrigation

Consider irrigating your garden with a soaker hose, a garden hose permeated with tiny pores that let water seep into the soil. The hose can be lightly buried, which almost guarantees that the water it releases will make it to your plants’ roots. Water delivered in this way is much less prone to evaporation than water sprayed by a traditional sprinkler. If you invest in a digital timer for your irrigation setup, you’ll be able to enjoy hands-off watering. It’s the best insurance policy for summer heat waves.

No Stress

Garden tasks like planting, pruning, fertilizing, and transplanting cause stress for plants. Under normal circumstances, plants can recover quickly, but during a heat wave these chores add unnecessary stress that can put plant health at risk. During a heat wave, avoid pruning, fertilizing, or transplanting. Wait until the stretch of hot weather has passed to tackle heavy-duty garden tasks. 

Planting in the heat
Fullmoon Maple Autumn Moon

Add Shade

For more heat-sensitive plants, consider putting up shade to protect them from the blaring sun.

Plant Trees: 

Deciduous trees, those that drop their leaves during the winter, generally are the best choices. These trees let the sun shine on the house during the winter when the sun’s added warmth is welcome. Then they provide shade during the summer when it is needed.

Evergreen trees, which retain their foliage through the year, provide constant shade – which generally is not desirable when it is cold. Evergreen trees do, however, provide good windbreaks for winter winds when they are planted to the north of the house.

The location of your deciduous shade trees is very important in how well they will help reduce energy consumption. Trees should be planted on the southwestern and western sides of the house to be most effective. Trees in those locations will shade the house from the most intense sun during the hottest part of the day. Planting trees to the south and east also will help shade the house.

Trees also need to be planted the proper distance from the house, and away from concrete surfaced areas. Although house slabs generally are not affected, thinner concrete surfaces, such as patios, sidewalks, and driveways, can be damaged by roots from trees planted too close. The recommended distances generally are related to the mature size of the tree. Larger trees, such as oaks, should be planted farther away from sidewalks, driveways, and the house (at least 15 feet) than smaller trees like crape myrtles or yaupon hollies.

 

Structures & Vines

Structures like pergolas, arbors, and green tunnels have been used for centuries to hold up vines that create shade. Vines trained up trellises and espaliers create living walls that shade and cool from the hot, summer sun.

When using vines for shade, it’s important to first decide what kind of structure you will be using for the vine to grow upon. Vines, like climbing hydrangea and wisteria, can become woody and heavy and will need the strong support of a pergola or arbor. Annual and perennial vines, such as morning glory, black-eyed susan vine, and clematis, can be grown up smaller, weaker supports like bamboo or willow whip green tunnels.

Try a shade sail. They act as a barrier between you and the sun while maintaining a light touch aesthetically. Shade sails come in a variety of colors, whether you need a clean, cool neutral or are using it as a vibrant pop of color. Fastened to the exterior of a home, designated posts, or atop a pergola, shade sails can add an inviting texture to your hangout space in your yard – while keeping everyone cool.

Shade Sail




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