Summer can be a testing time for plants. The summer heat can take a toll on the health of your plants. When temperatures increase, the rate of photosynthesis begins to decline rapidly. High temperatures can cause excessive water loss due to evapotranspiration. If extreme heat continues for a few weeks, your landscape plants may perish.

Plants, like children, need your love and care. Many varieties need extra care during the hot months.

How to Know If Your Plants Are Suffering from Heat Stress?

Here are some signs of heat stress in plants:

  • Leaf wilt and burn
  • Early leaf drop
  • Browning of leaves
  • Discoloration

Tips to Protect Your Plants from Heat Stress

Water Plants Correctly

Plants, just like humans and animals, need more water during the summers. To keep your plants hydrated during the summer season, you may want to water them twice a day.

To ensure the roots of your plants get enough time to absorb water, water them when the sun is not shining (early in the morning or late at night when the evaporation rate slows down). Watering deeply around the drip line will ensure that water makes its way to the roots.

Weather Based Irrigation Controller

A Weather Based Irrigation Controller or Smart Controller either predicts the upcoming weather events or reacts to the previous days weather events. Some of these Smart Controllers connect to your Wi-Fi for easy adjustments on the go and also connect to local weather stations in your area. These controllers can be set to water more during extreme heat events and turn off temporally due to rain.

Add Additional Mulch

To increase water retention, add additional mulch to the base of your plants. Adding mulch is also one of the most effective ways to prevent runoff and protect the soil and roots from direct sunlight.

Adding mulch will significantly reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation, keeping your plants hydrated for a longer time. We recommend using a light-colored mulch, as dark-colored mulches can trap heat.

Opt for a material that provides superior exposure protection and traps less heat in the soil. Some popular mulch materials are shredded hardwood, grass clippings, straw, and dropped foliage.

Provide Shade

Prolonged exposure to heat can impact a wide variety of plant functions. A temporary shade works to lower the amount of moisture loss through transpiration. To protect your plants and shrubs during harsh heat waves, hang shade clothes just above them. A shaded area can be 10⁰F cooler than an area without shade.

Choose Your Landscape Plants Carefully

Prefer native plants to non-native species, as they are more resilient to the local climate, and can adjust well to changing weather conditions. When selecting a plant, consider the natural soil moisture of your property.

Avoid committing these mistakes:

  • Using Herbicides and Pesticides: Remember, your plants are struggling to cope with heat stress. Adding a herbicide or pesticide can make them susceptible to drifting
  • Improper Plant Placement: Avoid placing plants susceptible to winds and direct sunlight in western and southern facing areas

Sweetwater Landscape is a leading landscape design company in Sonoma County. We are passionate about landscaping. We never stop looking for landscaping ideas. Our professionalism and willingness to think outside the box give us a competitive edge over other landscape contractors. To make an appointment, call us at 707-887-0140.