Monday Morning Gardening: Protect Your Plants From Summer Heat Stress

In California our hottest days lie ahead in August and September. Now is the time to protect your plants from the triple digit heat. Plants can suffer when the temperatures rise but there are a few things you can do to help protect your plants from heat stress during the hottest part of the summer. Watering in the morning or early evening is the best for your garden. Giving them water midday is inefficient and most of it will evaporate before it gets to the roots. Strive for a deep watering two or three times a week. Using a drip irrigation system or a soaker hose will ensure a deep watering, but if you do not have an irrigation system, an overhead sprinkler or hand watering will work, just remember to water in the cool hours of morning or early evening.

Mulching will insulate the moisture from the water while beautifying your garden. 4 to 6 inches of Woodchip, Pine Needles , leaves or straw is the perfect antidote to protect your plants from the sun's heat. Lay it on thick your plants will love it!

Add shade! Many plants will not flower and leaves will  get sunburned with temperatures over 90°. Add an umbrella to your garden where needed. That extra shade will bring down the garden temperature and allow your plants to thrive.

Be sure to protect yourself- don't garden in the heat of the day, hydrate often, and make sure you put on your sunscreen every hour or two.  I always garden in long sleeves and a hat to have that added protection from the sun's rays.  While you're protecting your plants, take care of yourself too, and have a super summer!

Learn more tips at our FREE talk on August 6 from the UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County at Reata Park and Event Center.  Stay cool until then!