Plants need light to live, and some plants more than others. At the height of summer, though, all that sunlight can put a lot of stress on your plants in the form of heat. As the mercury climbs, look for ways to give your plants relief from the heat.
While it’s not possible to turn down the thermostat for your outdoor plants, there are a few steps you can take to keep them from baking in the sun.
Mulch, mulch, mulch!
It’s easy to get caught up in thinking of your plant as only the part that’s growing above ground, but it may be even more important to keep the roots cool.
One of the best ways to do that is to mulch around the base of the plant. That keeps sunlight from warming the soil too quickly, but also traps moisture at ground level.
Mulches come in a number of different varieties, but fear not! Our guide to mulching will help you pick the best variety for your plants.
One way summer heat kills plants is by evaporating water before the plants have an opportunity to drink it up. Be sure that you’re watering deeply — that is, applying enough water so that it soaks down to root level.
Watering early in the morning will give the soil time to absorb the water before the heat rises.
Another strategy for making sure that your plants get enough water is to irrigate gradually, rather than all at once.
By installing soaker hoses or drip irrigation kits, you can deliver life-giving water to your plants steadily for a period of time, rather than watering once and hoping it’s enough to last until sundown. Check out our article on drip irrigation to learn more about using drip kits.
Bring in a stunt plant
Some plants just handle heat better. They can also help out less heat-tolerant plants by providing shade.
If you find some of the plants in your landscape could stand a little less direct sunlight, ask the experts at your local Garden Center to recommend a few heat-tolerant plants tall enough to cast shade.
Plant them strategically so that they throw their shadows on the more heat-sensitive plants during the peak of the day’s heat. That extra hour or two of relative cool may make the difference between a plant that survives the summer, and one that wilts from the heat.