Hot Outside? 3 Tips To Protect Your Plants
When the hot days of mid-summer start, it can be really difficult to keep your landscape thriving. Plants may start to wilt and turn brown unless you provide enough water, and for homeowners that live in areas with water restrictions (or who just want to be more earth friendly), that can be a challenge.
Fortunately, there are several ways to keep your garden thriving during the hottest summer days while conserving water!
Mulch not only makes your landscape look nicer and helps in suppress weeds. . .it also keeps the soil moist longer! Mulched soil will retain water, preventing it from evaporating during hot days. That means more water for your plants, and less lost back into the air!
I recommend having at least 2 inches of mulch, and applying earlier in the garden season. This not only helps retain moisture, but it will give you an advantage over the weeds!
Drip lines look like hoses with holes in them. You place them along the ground, near plants' roots. They're an excellent alternative to overhead watering for several reasons! They deliver water right to the roots, and if placed under mulch very little water will be lost to evaporation. Drip lines also help prevent the spread of disease or pests, because instead of water bouncing off of leaves (as happens in overhead watering) and onto neighboring plants, everything is directed right to the roots.
You can buy driplines at hardware stores, big box stores like Lowes or Home Depot, or online from Gardening catalogs. They are typically $25 to $50 for a kit, depending on how much area they'll cover, if they include a timer, and, of course, quality.
You can create shade for your garden by buying hoops at your garden center and placing a light mesh material over top. This will provide some protection from the sun, help prevent water loss, and it will protect plants from the hot midday heat.
If you use a shade cloth, be aware that your plants still need enough sun to thrive. You may want to cover them during just the hottest part of the day, or make sure you invest in a cloth that will let enough sun through to your plants.
You can make your own shade system using PVC pipes and some sort of mesh cloth, or you can buy kits through a garden center or online garden suppliers.
The hot day of summer will turn into the cooler days of fall soon enough, but there is a lot you can do in the meantime to protect your plants and help them thrive!