In the south, our summers get hot. And I mean reaaaallll hot. And there is nothing more tragic than watching your beautiful plant babies fry and wilt in the scorching sun. Below are some heat wave care tips for how to help your plants continue to thrive, no matter how high the thermometers may reach.
How to get started with heat wave care
One of the best things you can do for your plants is apply a liberal layer of mulch before summer’s hottest days. Mulch protects the soil from direct sun exposure and helps to keep it moist at the surface. It also helps to cut down on how much water evaporates, which reduces the need for watering and helps your water bill. I recommend a lighter colored mulch as it will reflect the sunlight and help keep the soil cooler. Grass clippings from the lawn mower or mulch from a cut down tree are both perfect and budget friendly (AKA free!) choices.
The best time to water plants in Summer
When watering your plants, early morning is the best time. Hand watering is ideal, as sprinklers lose a lot of water to evaporation and wind. Hand watering also ensures a proper soak of everything in the garden. A great way to water your garden efficiently without taking the time to hand water is to use soaker hoses. These can be placed under the mulch and water the soil directly. Because they are not watering the leaves, soaker hoses can be used anytime of day.
Heat wave care: What to avoid
Avoid applying fertilizer to your lawn and plants during a heat wave. The plant’s roots can’t absorb nutrients as well and it could add stress to an already hot and tired plant.
Lastly, let your grass grow a little taller during summer’s hottest weeks. The taller blades will cast a shadow that benefits your soil and help it retain moisture. It also helps to eradicate weeds! When setting your mowers, keep the blades to at least 3 inches or even as high as 6.
Good luck and think cool thoughts!