Beating the Heat : Ways to Protect Your Plants from the Destruction of Heat Stress

Hot weather can be hard on your plants. Just like us, they need special care in extreme heat. Even with adequate watering and mulching, plants can suffer when the temperatures rise but there are a few things you can do to help protect your plants from heat stress during the hottest part of the summer.

Drinking water first thing in the morning has been shown to provide a range of health benefits for us. And the same goes for our plants. Heat waves can quickly pull the moisture right out of soil and dehydrate shallow roots. Watering early in the morning ensures that roots are amply hydrated before the oppressive heat of the day begins.

This also prevents heat stress, which is basically sunburn for your plants that occurs when the sun gets to its apex and plants’ leaves are just too brittle to fight off the sun. A second watering is never a bad idea if just one isn’t doing enough.

A thick layer of mulch helps insulate the plant’s roots from both heat and cold. It will also help keep the soil moist. If your garden is prone to extreme temperatures, strive for at least 4-6 inches of mulch in your garden.

Straw, pine needles, leaves, and grass clippings make good, inexpensive mulch. Lay it on thick; your plants will love you for it.

Give Them Shade

Another way to prevent heat stress and protect your crops from the direct sunlight is a shade cloth or row cover.During extreme heat, plants will cease flowering and can get sunburned. When temperatures get into the mid 90’s Fahrenheit, plants like peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants hold back flowering.

A good way to remedy this is to give them some shade during the hottest part of the day. You can use a patio umbrella for a small area or a lightweight piece of fabric (like a flat bed sheet) stretched over a trellis to shade sections of your garden