Protecting and Maintaining Plants in the Summer Heat

Lately it seems like no matter where you live in the United States, during the months of July and August you are bound to face some brutal heat.  The recent heat wave that has sent temperatures around the country over the century mark probably have many gardeners worried about their plants.  The key is striking a balance between conservation and adequate watering of your plants.  As you work to keep your plants healthy through the hottest days of the summer, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  1. If at all possible, you should water your plants early in the morning, such as before you leave for work.  This is when temperatures are the coolest and the least amount of evaporation will occur, allowing you to water more efficiently.
  2. You should plan your watering schedule based on root depth.  Plants that have strong, deep roots can manage with just one watering each week and will actually benefit from this.  Conversely, plants with more shallow roots will need more frequent watering because they can only absorb so much water at a time.
  3. Plan around vacations.  This specifically applies to smaller patio plants that can be kept in containers.  Self-watering planters are a great way to ensure your plants stay watered even while you’re away.  These containers come in all shapes and sizes to fit your planting needs.
  4. Adding mulch around your plants is another great way to help with watering efficiency.  Mulch helps in several ways by trapping in moisture and reducing evaporation and facilitating proper drainage through the roots. 
  5. Pay attention to the weather.  Many states face major droughts during the summer and there may even be certain water restrictions within your municipality.  Therefore, it is extremely important to follow the weather so that you only water when rainfall isn’t providing enough water.  If you’re planning to water today, but there’s rain in the forecast within a few days, your plants will be just fine until then.