Save Your Plants: High Heat Defense

Yesterday, was the first official day of Spring and already the weather is glorious. But like most things in life, there is a flip side. It's unseasonably warm...or some might say HOT and it's only March!!! Tomorrow, meteorologists are predicting 80 degrees in the NE and that's a record breaker. Two words - climate change! Besides frantically preparing for beach weather, spare a thought for your garden friends ;).

While it's all gravy now continued high temperatures are not in the best interest of your garden. Check out our garden tips for survival.This summer may be a scorcher if the current trend continues and when we hit 86 degrees photosynthesis shuts down and plants reduce their flowering and growth. You will see lovely things like leaf scorch, leaf wilt and in some extreme cases, leaf drop.

That goes double for the lawn lovers out there, grass will go dormant and a lovely shade of brown. After all, we grow cool season grasses here in the NE lol.

As adaptable as nature is, the garden will surely need a little TLC to cope with the fluctuating weather and high temps so they can continue to dazzle us with their beauty.

Do not wait until it gets hot to take follow these preventative measures!


Wilting Hydrangea

Wilting Hydrangea


1. Mulch Baby Mulch: All garden beds should have a 3" - 4" layer because mulch regulates the soil temperature, keeps it cool and moist. Besides suppressing weeds and providing nutrients to the soil as it breaks down.

2. Plant early or late: Plan NOW. This is especially important because the majority of plants do not transplant well during high heat temps. You are likely to loose new plants if they are not carefully watched and kept continually moist.

3. Keep it moist: If roots dry out, your plants will go belly up. Any good gardener will tell you that pots are the most prone to drying out. Make sure that when you plant your pretty annuals this season that the potting mixture contains some type of water absorbent crystals. Miracle Gro has a line of Moisture Control products which is a great choice.

The same principle applies to bedding transplants. You should use water absorbent polymer crystals when planting or you are likely to find yourself out there in the beating sun watering in a frenzy to saved your prized plants.

4. Sprinkler Systems: Seem to be more and more a necessity. If you have invested a considerable amount in your landscape, this should be on your list of priorities. Not only will it save you time and money but they do a much better job of watering than a human ever could.

Drip systems are better because they water the roots of plants and lose less water to evaporation. Many plants, get diseases as a result of overhead watering as well.

5. Water Deeply: And infrequently. You would be amazed at how deep the roots of some plants grow. In any case, roots grow bigger when they are watered to the appropriate depth and they have to "search" for water.

If you water lightly every day, roots will stay near the surface, restricting the size of the plant and will be prone to dry out.

By spacing out your watering, you are in effect "training" your plants. Nothing's worse than a plant who wilts dramatically when denied her daily addiction.

**Garden needs vary dependent on plant material, consult your landscaper if you're unsure about when and how much you should water.

6. Bzzzz: Be on the alert for insect damage. The insect community is delighted by the heat and overwintering insects have gotten a boost since the temperatures have been so mild. If you walk the garden routinely, you can catch a problem before it gets out of control.

7. Read the Label: When applying fertilizer and spraying plants you need to be aware of the temperature as some products are less effective when applied during high heat and some plants will sizzle if you spray them during the bright glare of sunlight.

8. Heat Lovers: Looking for a list of heat loving flowers? Try here.

All the nurseries I've spoken with expect to be fully stocked on April 1st. Everything has been accelerated :).

Happy Planting!!!