Handling the Heat
Handling the Heat
With this latest heat wave sweeping across Western New York, it’s crucial to make sure that your plants are up to snuff. Here are some watering tips to help you and your garden beat the heat:
- Watering Times. Typically plants only need to be watered once a day (or even less than that if you have a self-watering pot!), but in extreme heat watering should be done twice a day–once in the morning and once in the afternoon or evening. Consider this two-time watering when the temperature gets higher than 85 degrees. If you can’t water twice a day, make sure that your plants are getting enough to keep them going; check out the other tips for more information.
- Amount of Water. You don’t want your plant to be thirsty, but you also don’t want to over-water. (Over-watering can make your plants sick, or even drown them.) The soil should be moist, but not watery. If you’re not sure, try sticking your finger about an inch into the soil; if it comes out damp but not dripping, then your plants have had enough.
- Placement of Water. You want to try and avoid watering your plant’s leaves for a few reasons. First, any water that is being redirected by the leaves is not getting as close to the root system as it should. Watering the leaves can also “scorch” the plant, meaning that the leaf tissue will turn brown or yellow and then die. It is best to water towards the center of the plant, where the stem, trunk, or branches enter the ground. This will reach the core of the plant’s roots and help it absorb all the moisture that it will need.
- Watering Speed. For best results, watering should be done gradually. This allows the water to spread more naturally through the soil and maximizes the amount of area that is appropriately dampened. While this means that irrigation systems are ideal for watering, it is also possible through carefully controlled use of a hose or watering can.
While this is a special reminder for our high temperatures, this advice is applicable to your plants at any time. Of course, it’s important to remember that specialty plants might have special watering needs. We highly recommend asking about any special needs your plant might have upon purchase. Stay cool!