Help your garden survive a heatwave

Sometimes well- established plants and shrubs can be touched by a heat wave.

With searing temperatures, often gardeners get caught by surprise. No matter how hot the summer, there are a few simple tricks to implement in your garden to counter the heat and keep your garden growing.

Most indigenous shrubs and common veggie crops can withstand short heat wave periods. When you have plants or shrubs that have been planted recently they can suffer stress from extreme heat due to their shallow roots. Extended periods of heat dry out the soil and cracks the first top layers of the soil, exposing the roots.  In short, when a gardener pays attention to its soil condition, they can offset the effect a heat wave has on their garden and growing plants.

Here is what you can do to help your growing plants survive a heat wave:

  • Mulch your beds

One of the first affects a heat wave creates is dry soil. In defense against the hot weather drying out your soil, add a generous amount of mulch around your plants. This will protect your soil from direct sun exposure and help to keep the soil moist at the surface.

Mulch will also help your plant with water, mulch reduces evaporation of water from the soil and will help you to use less water.

There are many different mulch materials you can use. A good mulch to use is Malanseuns Woodmulch. Keep in mind that light coloured mulch will reflect the sun and will help maintain a cooler soil surface.

Not only does mulch help with water retention it will also keep the weeds in your garden tame.

  • Early watering

As already established, a heat wave can dry out soil quickly which can dehydrate shallow roots of your plants. Your plants will need more water in hot weather conditions due to the leaves that also lose water. This makes the plant thirstier than normal, and their ability to take up water via their roots.

We suggest giving your plants and garden a good, deep watering early in the mornings, when the temperature is not as hot. Watering in the mornings can also prevent heat scald which damages leaves that are watered while the sun is directly overhead.

Also remember that hand watering is best in hotter climates as it has the advantage of delivering just the right amount of water for each plant.

Soaker hoses or watering cans are ideal in heat waves, they can be used any time of the day, hoses can be placed underneath the mulch layer to access the soil directly. This prevents the leaves from getting wet and damaged from the sun.

Another benefit of introducing early watering to your gardening routine is watering in the mornings are a great defense against slugs and fungal diseases since conditions are drier overnight.

  • Avoid stressing your plants

Some garden tasks like pruning and transplanting can cause tremendous stress for your normal conditions your plants will be able to quickly recover from these stressors but not during a heat wave.

You can also try to move your containers. That is one of the benefits of having container gardens, you can move your plants whenever you want them. If you have a container that looks a little droopy of all the sun exposure, move your container to a shadier area until the heat wave is over.

  • Keep your lawn a little longer

Leaving your grass, a little longer will aid in providing added shading to your soil and help it retain moisture. Set your lawnmower at least 7 cm high to cast longer shadows on your soil

You can also use your fresh grass clippings in your garden as mulch – now you will be recycling too.

Avoid applying fertilizer to your lawn during hot climates during a heat wave since the roots will not be able to absorb the nutrients and this will lead to burn on your lawn.

  • Keep your weeds in check.

Did you know that weeds have a built-in survival mechanism that help them flourish when plants struggle? In fact, weeds can take water supply and nutrients from plants. Try pulling out weeds in between the heat wave to stay ahead otherwise to get ahead try spraying herbicides to help with the process. Without weeds in your garden, your plants will be able to get all the water and nutrients there is to survive.

Heat waves are usually short enough that gardeners can manage to produce a successful garden.

With these tips you will be a heat wave professional soon.

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