Beat That Heat!

In the Front Range of Colorado, we experience intense heat, sunlight, and dryness. Because of this, lending your plants a helping hand can be the difference between survival and plant death. Since that summer sun is inevitable, we’ve collected some tips to help keep the damage to a minimum.

Your plants can exhibit signs of heat stress in different ways. The ones that are more easily identifiable are rolled or cupped leaves, wilting, dry leaf edges, dropping buds/flowers, and sunscalding. By regularly checking your plants, you can stay on top of your plant’s warning signs.

So how do you alleviate some of this heat stress? Thankfully, there are a few different solutions.

  1. Watering
    1. A deep water less often is better than frequent shallow watering.
    2. Avoid overwatering by sticking your finger about an inch into the soil to feel how saturated it is.
    3. Just because there is wilting, doesn’t necessarily mean that your plants need watering. Plants may look wilted just as a reaction to the afternoon heat, they may bounce back in the cooler evenings. If that happens, they don’t’ need water, if they are still wilted in the AM, they need water.
    4. MULCH! Mulch is great at conserving water and minimizing temperature fluctuation in the soil.
  2. Provide Shade
    1. If you are able to move your container plants to the shade, this is a great time to do so.
    2. Shade cloth is a great tool for allowing your plants to get light while decreasing the sun’s intensity.
    3. The morning sun is the most gentle, so allowing your plants to soak up the early rays and protecting them from the afternoon sunshine can give your plants a much-needed shield.
  3. Give your plants the VIP spots
    1. Weeds are hardier and adaptable to high levels of heat. By reducing the weeds around your plants, you will free up nutrients and water that are crucial to your plant’s survival.
  4. Pay extra attention to new plants
    1. When temperatures soar to the upper 90s and above, newly planted perennials, trees, and shrubs are particularly in danger of heat damage.
    2. Keep in mind that younger plants or plants with less root development can require more water than mature and established plants.

Water Saving tip: The length of time you water with your sprinkler should be determined by the type of soil you have. Heavy clay soil can only accept a spray zone running for about five minutes before water starts running off. You would need to water for short bursts to allow the water to penetrate the ground. You might want to take a stopwatch and see how long you can water before the water starts running off and then change your watering patterns accordingly.