There is nothing better than enjoying ice cold lemonade on your back patio and taking in your beautiful flowers on a hot summer day. Keep your plants happy and make sure they have some relief from the heat with these six tips on how to maintain a garden in summer.
Mulch is a great option when you want garden sun protection for several reasons. Not only will it insulate the root systems in your plants in hot weather, but it will retain water and keep the ground damp for a longer period of time. This will help stretch your daily watering and keep your plants from overheating. Usually, you want at least a 4-6” layer of mulch and there are plenty of free and natural mulch options available. These include dry grass clippings, seaweed, alfalfa, and even newspaper.
We all know water evaporates in high heat. Therefore you should avoid watering your plants in hot weather. Instead, it is best to aim for early in the morning or in the early evening to ensure the water actually reaches the root systems. If you don’t enjoy the idea of waking up early just to water your plants, set your sprinkler or irrigation system on a timer and schedule it to turn on when it is still dark outside. This way your plants can reap the benefits of an early watering and you can stay in the comfort of your own bed. Avoid over-watering your plants as too much water can cause root rot and other plant diseases. If you are worried about the heat killing your plants, always check the soil before giving your plants an extra dose of water on exceptionally hot days.
Every plant is different and needs different amounts of sun exposure. Some plants like lavender and coneflower love direct sunlight while others will thrive when they have a break from the Sun. Always make sure you are familiar with each plant’s desired sun and shade levels and arrange your landscaping and garden accordingly. Creating shade covers for plants is a great way to provide a better environment for them.
Shade cloth is a manufactured material that is resilient and resists rot and mildew. If you choose to use a shade cloth, make sure your plants have plenty of room to allow proper airflow so they can still breath. This keeps them from suffocating, lets them continue growing and allows space for pollinators like bees and butterflies to move around. Also if you use a shade cloth too close to your plants, you will trap the heat under the cloth, defeating its intended purpose.
If you would rather provide shade structure for plants by working it into your landscaping design, manufactured shade can be achieved with a trellis or other plant shelters. These allow for partial sun and plenty of airflow. You can even choose a temporary plant shade umbrella to help during the hottest months of the year.
If you are planting annuals or a vegetable garden, a great precaution is to plant them deeper in the soil than you normally would. When you plant your seeds an extra inch or two deeper, the root system has a greater chance of thriving and not getting dried out when direct heat would normally dehydrate the topsoil.
An easy way to avoid having your plants get overheated in the summer is to choose plants that are hearty enough to withstand the heat. There are several vegetable plants that love heat including peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. Supplement your garden with hearty herbs like basil, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, and lemongrass and you will be well on your way to a summer filled with delicious meals.
If you are more interested in flowering plants that can withstand the warmest temperatures of the year, consider these annuals as heat-loving options that will add an aesthetic flair to your garden and landscape design.
There are plenty of perennials that love the heat as well. Just be sure you lay down mulch to protect these recurring plants during the winter’s colder months. Here is a list of a few full Sun, heat loving perennials.
Transplanting young plants into your garden is a difficult task, especially during the heat of the summer. A great way to ensure your new plants have plenty of shade and access to healthy soil is to plant them near some of your established plants that share the same sun/shade preferences. Your existing plant can act as a shade cover for plants to your burgeoning beauties, keeping them from overheating. Remember your new plants still need some sunshine to maintain their growth, so avoid planting them near an established plant that will provide complete shade.
If you feel overwhelmed when trying to DIY shade for plants in your landscape design, don’t be afraid to ask for help! The professional team at Second Nature Outdoor Living & Landscaping offers exceptional landscape maintenance services. We can help you with everything from mulching and seasonal planting, to finding a landscape design that will ensure your plants and garden get enough shade to beat the heat this summer. To learn more about our landscape maintenance and design services, contact us at 816-844-7733.