A heat wave is classified as a period of unusually high temperatures for two or more days at a time that is outside of the historical average for a given region. Depending on where you live, your landscape may already be able to withstand the extreme heat, but in some areas, a spell of hot weather can threaten your yard and garden.
Keep reading below for ways to preserve your landscape during a heat wave.
If you already live in a warmer climate, there are certain precautions you can take to ensure your garden continues to thrive when the temperatures rise.
- Plant crops in areas that receive more shade, like near a tree or larger shrub. This will naturally shield them from excessive sunlight.
- Remove weeds regularly. They steal water from your plants and prevent them from receiving all the necessary nutrients. We recommend pulling up weeds as they appear to help your garden retain precious moisture during a heat wave.
During the Heat Wave
Once the heat wave hits, it’s time to add a few extra tasks to your routine maintenance schedule.
- Water early. Get outside and irrigate your lawn and garden before the temperatures reach their peak. This will give roots time to absorb the moisture and help prevent heat stress in flourishing foliage.
- Apply mulch. Excessive heat dehydrates your landscape more quickly. Add mulch to help preserve moisture from those early-morning watering sessions.
- Recycle rain water. Consider adding a rain barrel to your irrigation system. Most rain barrels are able to withstand extreme weather conditions like high heat. They help reduce water consumption and provide your plants with natural rain water.
- Hand water as needed. For those long summer days, use a sprayer or watering can to mist plants, shrubs and bushes that begin to wilt and wither.
- Keep grass on your lawn higher than usual. Longer blades of grass act as a shield for your soil. This will protect it from the harsh sun rays and help it retain more moisture. Three to six inches is the recommended height during a heat wave. When you do mow the grass, leave the clippings on the lawn for a bit of natural mulch.
- Add shade cloths. Shade cloths are made of breathable materials that facilitate airflow to keep temperatures underneath cool and comfortable. Many are also designed to filter harmful UV rays so your plants and crops have a chance to thrive during periods of prolonged heat.
Safety Note: Be mindful of the time spent tending to your landscape. Working outdoors during a heat wave can cause extreme fatigue very quickly, so avoid going out during noon and 3pm. Make sure to stay well hydrated and wear the appropriate amount of sunscreen. Additionally, wear lightweight clothing to help keep you cool as you work.
Once the extreme temperatures break, check the fortitude of your plants, shrubs, bushes and lawn. Give withering foliage a few weeks to recover before deciding whether to clip or prune.
Maintaining a healthy landscape all year long will make it easier to preserve during a heat wave. Keep up with your watering and fertilizing schedule, and tend to pests and weeds before they get out of control. This will give your lawn and garden a greater chance of survival in most weather conditions.