How to protect your plants from extreme heat and sun.
In the heat of summer, with temperatures hovering over 35C many plants will need some protection the sun.
The two problems gardeners face during hot weather are leaf scorch and very fast drying of the ground, especially on windy hot days.
Leaf burn or leaf scorch is caused by hot sun, a lot of this has to do with water, and dehydration. During summer, and especially during hot spells some of the surface roots may also die back and this lowers the amount of water available to the plant.
Sun damaged plants
So on hot days plants may not be able to take up enough water to prevent dehydration. A few solutions are available
- Increase the amount of moisture available to the plant.
- Deep watering is best, but do not over water of you may cause other problems *
- Mulching to maintain a cool root run.
- In the long term – Improve soil structure to make the soil more moisture retentive.
Can you cure leaf scorch
Unfortunately leaves that have been damaged by the sun will not recover. This does not mean that the plant will die. And it does not mean that you should prune them.
- Many plants will recover naturally as the weather cools down, and they will recover faster if you can provide moisture and shade.
- Pruning away damaged foliage will also remove some shade from the rest of the plant, so leave this until autumn, or even the next spring.
What else can a gardener do to protect plants from the sun.
The simplest answer is to provide some temporary shade.
- Use shade cloth over plants that require protection. Old sheets of material will also help, really anything that will lessen the effect of direct sun. It does not have to be a fancy construction, just as long as the material is propped up so as not to weigh down the plants. Some sturdy plants such as Camellias can have some light shade cloth draped directly over them.
*Over watering of plants can cause root rot, to much water lessens the amount of oxygen in the soil.
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