Plant Care Tips for Gardens During the Heat Waves of California

With another wall of three-digit heat appearing to fall in Southern California this week, it’s time to act to protect the unprotected plants that have just emerged from the relatively mild spring temperatures. I did.

Outdoor container plants are particularly vulnerable because they can dry quickly, but at least potted plants can be moved to shaded areas. Plants on the ground must frown and endure it.

the goal? Avoid the destruction that occurred in July 2018. This is too fresh in some memories. The heat explosion causes temperatures to skyrocket to three digits overnight, burning vines with fruits, shrinking foliage, and crispy flowers throughout Southern California. ..

For example, in Descanso Gardens, where temperatures rose from 74 to 114 degrees in one day in July 2018, most of its legendary camellias were damaged by sunburn, and horticulture and horticulture at the Lacanada Flintridge site. Rachel Young, director of the division, said. .. With proper care, staff were able to bring them back to good health.

But the fruits and vegetables of the vines? I’m not so lucky.

“I had ripe grapes in my house, but it was raisins that night. I don’t like raisins,” she said.

It was the same month my friend sent me a self-righteous message from Portland, Oregon.

“I lost a lot of plants in my garden,” he sent a text message. “Very upset. Torch lamp.”

Appropriate description.

Burning temperatures can have a devastating impact on the garden, but there are ways to save the plants and protect them from the heat wave, says Young and Yvonne Savio, former directors of the Los Angeles County Master Gardener Program. He is currently talking about gardening and running

Here are some tips for dealing with the heat, but keep in mind. Wearing a hat Lots Of water and your own sunscreen gear before heading to the garden.

1. Water depth

Slow and deep watering at the roots of the plant is the best preparation for excessive heat as it guides the roots deep into the ground. “Plants are like humans—they get lazy,” Young said. “Drinking water for 5 minutes each day keeps the roots close to the surface, so deep watering trains the plants to send the roots deep into the soil with water.” In general, Young Recommends deep watering most plants once a week. for how long? It depends on your soil, but it is long enough to saturate the soil to a sufficient depth. She added that vegetables may need to be deep-watered a couple of times a week when it’s really hot. Savio submerges a 5-gallon planting container (a type with a drain hole) between the plants in the garden, fills it with water once or three times a week, and sends it deep into the ground.

If you know that the hot season is approaching, you can water it deeply at ground level. Ideally, water at night or early in the morning when the air is cool.

2. But please do not On the water

According to Savio, when temperatures reach three digits, plants simply stop and are unable to absorb water or “sweat.” By the end of the day, the plants may appear wilted, but test the soil before pulling out the hose. If the soil is dry, be sure to add water. When the temperature drops at night, the plants can absorb it. But if the pot feels heavy or the soil feels about an inch underground, she says the plant doesn’t need any more water and can actually drink too much water and drown. I did. The best test is to check the plants again in the morning, Savio said. If it does not recover and is still wilted, give more water.

3. Check the pot twice a day

When it’s very hot, it’s important to use a moisture meter (such as this $ 13 model from Amazon) or stab your index finger a few inches first thing in the morning to check the moisture in your potted plants. Make sure the soil is dry (if wet soil is on your fingers, the plant is not yet ready for watering). Then, especially for thirsty vegetables such as tomatoes, the plants in the container will dry out, so try again late in the afternoon. You may need to water twice a day as it leaves faster than the plants on the ground. It waters slowly and completely, so it does not just wet all the soil in the pot and spout water from the sides and bottom of the container.

4. Consider the container

Avoid dark-colored containers that absorb more heat than light-colored ones and can actually fry plant roots, Young said. Try wrapping a dark pot with a light-colored cloth to reduce heat absorption.Alternatively, put the potted plant in a large pot to create insulation and shade, but be sure Both The pot is well drained. Plants drown in standing water, even when it’s hot.

5. Do not water in the sun

Sounds attractive, but don’t hose the plants during the day. The water droplets turn into a small magnifying glass on the leaves, increasing the heat. Savio recommends spraying to cool the plants, rear The setting sun sets. (This only applies when the nights are warm. Watering at lower temperatures at night can promote mold, so watering early in the morning gives the plants the opportunity to dry during the day. Best.)

6. Make a shade

A large beach umbrella works as well as a well-ventilated (30% -40%) sunshade. You can also use old bed sheets, equipped cheesecloth, or supported cardboard to give your plants a break from the scorching rays, especially in the hottest afternoons. The important thing is to allow the air to circulate freely around the plant in the shade. Keep in mind that if only the cloth you have is dark, it can absorb heat and burn the leaves you touch. Keep a few inches above or away from the plant. The Savio website has some tips for shading plants. And there are some other shade ideas, including a simple DIY garden shade that can be made from PVC pipes and bed sheets.

7. No more plants

Plants don’t like change. Even moving them from one container to another can tax them. However, transplanting when the temperature is three digits is simply sadistic. According to Savio, your plant will be stressed enough to survive the hot weather without the additional burden of adapting to the new environment. It is best to store them in a shaded area, wait for a while until the temperature drops below 85 degrees, and then transplant them to another pot or ground.

8. Do not remove damaged leaves

Hand the pruner, at least for now, as those brown leaves and branches act as protection against additional damage and may actually harbor living tissue.

9. Stop all pruning until autumn

Even plants that look okay will feel stressed in this heat, and pruning only adds to it. Grow as they wish and prun when cool.

10. Forget fertilizer

The root system suffers from high fever. Absorption of fertilizer can cause further damage. According to Young, compost mulch and low nitrogen (less than 3) organic fertilizers contain salts that can cause heat stress and burning if they do not contain fertilizers, fish or blood. ,No problem.

11. Be ruthless

If carefully cared for baby tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, or beans swell and die, let them go. They are not going to ripen miraculously on the vines, Savio said. Remove them so that mom’s plants can focus on recovery. Also, know that high heat will stop tomato production, so don’t expect more fruit to set until the temperature drops from 85 to 90 degrees Celsius for 10 consecutive days.

12. Roses are an exception

No pruning rules apply because roses are susceptible to disease. “I don’t want to leave a lot of dead tissue due to disease or insects,” Young said, so get rid of dead flowers and branches.

Plant Care Tips for Gardens During the Heat Waves of California

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