Sizzling Sidewalks It’s Hot!
Happy July to all of you garden folks and wow are we sliding into summer on a heat wave! Stay cool, stay hydrated and stay safe! This extreme summer heat is tough on all our plants and gardens that have just started to come into their glory, so be sure to look after them as well. We have been taking a lot of calls already this year because of dry conditions and it is just one more challenge for us to endure in this crazy growing zone that we call home.
So how can we help our gardens through the heat of the summer? Best case is to prepare your garden long before this tough heat starts. Water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth, amend your soils with organic soil that will hold the water longer and apply moisture saving mulch that will also help keep soil temperatures more even throughout the season. Install rain barrels to collect rain for watering, investigate and install irrigation systems (if budget allows), pick up soaker hoses (ideal for getting water directly and deeply to the soil and plant roots), have frost or shade cloths on hand (allows for air flow and provides protection). Keeping your plants healthy right from the start will help withstand any stressful situations later.
Our lawns seem to bear the brunt of summer heat and while it’s tough to see them turning brown by mid-summer, know that this is a natural adaptation of established Kentucky Blue grass lawns to go dormant during periods of drought. Once temperatures return to normal and more moisture is available it will green up again, which is why we often have the nicest and greenest lawns in the fall. During a heat wave, avoid fertilizing and applying herbicides, don’t mow too short and water deeply in the early morning or late evening to allow the plants to absorb moisture to better tolerate the heat of the day.
Newly planted trees, shrubs, perennials, and sod require regular and deep watering through extreme heat events but avoid overwatering. A slow trickle of the hose around the base of trees and shrubs allows the moisture to penetrate deep and encourage deeper root growth. Most feeder roots will be at the dripline of the tree (outer canopy) so ensure that you are not just watering at the trunk. Mulching around tree wells will also help maintain moisture in the soil longer. Avoid transplanting or planting new trees in the heat of the day if possible.
There are lots of guidelines to help survive the heat of the summer, ultimately water when you can (make sure the water in your hose or in your watering can is not too hot before you start watering), move your pots into the shade to help them stay cool and avoid disrupting your garden too much. Go ahead and weed if you can tolerate it, less competition for your desired plants for moisture and don’t forget to look after your self and your pets as well!
Stay cool, stay safe and Happy Canada Day!