Hot weather can stress even the healthiest garden plants, especially during the hotter months of the summer, when sporadic rain is common. Extended periods of high heat, 95 degrees and above can take a toll on your garden.
Here's a few things professional gardeners recommend:
Vegetables need a reliable, steady water supply to stay productive. However, even with careful watering, your veggies may suffer from heat stress.
The most common signs of heat stress in vegetables are sunburned foliage and fruits, blossom and fruit drop, and wilting.
-Water regularly and deeply.
-Mulch the soil with at least three inches of organic mulch to reduce moisture loss and help regulate soil temperature.
-Shade certain crops, such as leafy greens and lettuces, to slow bolting. They will bolt, no matter what, during periods of intense heat.
Many lawns, including bluegrass, fescues, and ryegrass, naturally go dormant (turn brown and stop growing) during periods of high heat and drought. The easiest thing to do is just let nature take its course. Once temperatures return to normal, and the lawn starts getting adequate moisture, it will green up again.
You can try to keep your lawn green by providing at least an inch (up to two inches during high heat) of water, delivered slowly and steadily, per week. Don't just throw the sprinkler out there for an hour -- if the soil is very dry, chances are likely that most of the water you apply will simply run off. Give the lawn a slow, short watering first to let the moisture soak into the soil.
If you start seeing water running off onto your sidewalks, STOP -- you're just wasting water at that point.
TREES AND SHRUBS
Newly-planted trees and shrubs (less than two years since planting) can be hit particularly hard by heat and drought. To keep them alive and healthy:
-Give them between two and four inches of water per week during very high temperatures (heat index above 100 degrees) and drought.
-A long, slow trickle is best. This will allow the water to soak deep into the soil without running off, ensuring that the water is going to the root zone where it is needed.
-Shrubs can be misted several times per day to increase the ambient moisture -- this will prevent the foliage from drying out too much.
The key is to know what plants you have in your garden, and observe them often. You'll notice when they get to looking a little droopy. If you catch the problem early enough, you may just be able to save the plant.