Protecting Plants from Excessive Heat

Protecting Plants from Excessive Heat

Protecting Plants from Excessive Heat

Summer can be the most fruitful time of year for a garden. Hot weather and long days allow for bountiful and productive growth for many of our favorite plants. This being said, excessive heat and dry weather is not only tough for us working in the garden, but also stressful for plants not properly equipped to handle these conditions. Thankfully there are many ways to protect your plants from excessive summer temperatures, allowing them to continue flourishing well into the summer season.

Planting For Summer

All plants have their optimal temperature ranges which they need for growth. Dropping too far below or above these temperatures can easily stress plants and slow their growth. Furthermore, unsuitable temperatures can also result in increased incidence of pests, disease, and mortality for certain plants. It is also good to consider that certain plants have heat tolerant varieties that are more suited to hot temperatures.

Plants that thrive in the heat include;

Corn Armenian Cucumbers
Sweet Potatoes Yard Long Beans
Tomatoes Hot Peppers
Amaranth Okra
Summer Squash Tomatillos
Zucchini Rosemary
Culinary Sage Eggplant
Melons Sunflowers


Tips To Keep Plants Healthy in The Heat

Proper Watering - Water is a no-brainer when it comes to keeping your plants happy in hot weather. High temperatures often lead to dry weather and result in increased transpiration.It is best to water early in the mornings, so your plants are well equipped to handle the heat of the day. Alternatively, water during the evenings or night.

+ It is best to do 2 to 3 deep waterings a week instead of light watering every day. This ensures water goes deep into the soil and promotes the growth of deep roots.
Letting water dry up on the soil surface for a couple days is good because it forces plants to dig their roots deeper into the soil profile.
If water is abundant, really deep watering with flood irrigation may be your best option.

Mulching - A thick layer of mulch keeps soil temperatures cooler and greatly reduces evaporation. At least 10 cm of mulch is a must during hot weather and can make a significant difference in plant health.

Proper Plant Nutrition - Healthy plants are more tolerant to heat stress than unhealthy ones. Consider top-dressing with compost for any plants that may need an extra boost of nutrients, or refer to your Carbon Garden Program to give your plant’s the little helping hand they may need.

Shade - If you have no other option, providing shade to your plants can greatly improve their health if they are experiencing heat stress.For plants in the ground you can provide shade by installing a shade cloth. Alternatively, you can use a patio umbrella or any other object you can think of to provide shade during the hottest part of the day.

+ Potted plants should be moved below the canopy of a tree or along a shady part of your house.

+ Plenty of shade is particularly important for seedlings and other young plants in smaller pots.

+ Fresh transplants should be given plenty of shade since they’re often already stressed from the transplant. You can cover these plants with pots, buckets, or any other way to provide temporary deep shade.

Pruning - Removing some foliage from your plant allows for more airflow and reduces transpiration. While plants will often self prune once encountering heat stress, you can give them a head start by doing it manually. You may also want to consider pruning or cutting back hedges that act as windblocks during this time of the year (as long as they are not providing shade).

    Transplanting with Care - Sometimes you have no option but to transplant during the hottest time of the year. If this is your case, make sure to place your plants while still in the pot in their new location for 2-3 days. This allows them to properly acclimate, especially if they are coming from a shady nursery. Transplant during the cool evening so they have all night to further adjust. Avoid transplanting during the heat of the day at all costs! Provide extra shade for up to a week after transplanting.

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