The hot weather can be deadly for your garden. Without sufficient care, your beloved trees and shrubs could succumb to the terrible heat and drought. In particular, the months starting from July up to August are when your plants are most prone to heat stress.
Short periods of extreme heat are not extremely worrying, but long periods of it should not be taken lightly. Thus, we have several tips to safeguard your garden plants against heat and drought.
Apply a Layer of Mulch
One of the most common and reliable methods for extreme heat and strong winds is mulching. By applying a substantial amount of mulch around your garden plants, the soil won’t be fully exposed to the sun. Likewise, a good layer of mulch will delay the evaporation of water in the soil. This is important because you have to keep the soil surface moist for your plants.
So, what exactly can you use for mulching? There are quite a lot of options, actually. However, we highly recommend using light-colored mulch, which is able to reflect the sunlight. Due to this reflective property, your garden soil will be kept longer than usual. If you’re expecting a heat wave to occur, get this type of mulch.
Moreover, you need to have a steady source of mulch during periods of extreme heat. A good solution is to set aside a section of your property for growing grass that will precisely be used for mulching whenever needed.
When you mow the grass to be used for mulching, don’t collect the clippings immediately. Instead, you must leave them in your garden for a couple of days. These grass clippings will eventually become light brown in color, which makes it perfect for mulching. Using fresh grass clippings might sound good, but this can actually affect the flowering process of your plants even if they stimulate growth due to their nitrogen.
Likewise, you can try using bark mulch. This type of mulch is known to stop the spread of weeds. In addition, a layer of bark mulch can easily provide shade to your garden soil. However, you need to check your bark mulch before applying them to your garden since they could have weed seeds.
Here is a video about bark mulch:
Irrigate in the Morning
This is an obvious step, but there are still some things you need to consider when you water your plants. You see, a heat wave can rapidly dry the top layer of the soil. Once this happens, the root systems become dehydrated. This is bad news, especially for plants with shallow root systems.
Watering alone isn’t going to do much if you water at the wrong time. The correct way to water your plants or grass is to do it early in the morning. This is important, especially if you’re going to use a sprinkler. With a sprinkler, a significant amount of water tends to be wasted due to strong winds and quick evaporation once the sun is fully up.
One good alternative to a sprinkler is an expandable hose. This is easy to store yet effective enough to water a large garden. You can even place it under the layer of mulch so that the water immediately goes down the soil without ruining the view.
If you have a seedbed, you might have to water them for a second time later in the day. For all other sections, you can do it just once in the morning. This is the best period since the water can go down the soil and be used for the root systems.
Additionally, evaporation isn’t at its peak in the morning so not much water is wasted. Moreover, irrigating your garden in the morning will prevent the onset of fungal diseases and the proliferation of slugs.
Arrange Your Plants Accordingly
If you have young plants that still have narrow root systems, you need to move them in an area with enough shade. Once a heat wave occurs and the first few inches of the soil become dry, your new plants will be in trouble.
A good solution that won’t cost you anything is to place them along trees and taller plants. Of course, they should not be fully hidden from direct sun exposure since they still need it. Look for sections that have partial shade, especially one that is provided by a plant that you will soon pull out. This will allow your young plants to receive more sunlight once their root systems have been established into the soil.
There you have it. From effective mulching to irrigation and transplanting, there are many simply ways to protect your garden plants from the damaging effects of heat and drought. We hope that you learned a lot from our guide. If you have any queries, do give us a comment.