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A fact is that many people globally do not even know there is a National Heat Awareness Day. So if you are one of them, we want you to honor this day with us annually. This particular day falls on the last Friday of May, and this year it is on May 27.
It marks the awareness of the health dangers related to heat. It is a day that the National Weather Service and Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) want to alert the public on reducing the rate of illnesses and deaths resulting from heat.
It is a reminder that people working outdoors are always at risk of getting heat-induced problems like heat stroke, dehydration, etc. Thus, it is an important day to make others aware of how heat can cause severe conditions to our health.
But there is another concern: our vegetation, as they too can suffer from heat exhaustion. We can stay hydrated by drinking water and wearing loose-fitting, lightweight clothes. We can also slather on that sunscreen to protect our skin and avoid venturing outdoors in the midday sun while limiting our activities.
But the question remains, what about your plants in the garden. Today we will look at the heatwave in our gardens and how to identify heat stress in our plant friends. Plantly is here to guide you.
What Happens When a Heat Wave Hits
For outdoor plants, the best temperature ranges are between 59°F to 86°F. But when the temperature rises above that for prolonged periods, your plant’s growth slows down and can show signs of stress.
While many plants can survive high heat, they start showing different heat stress signs and depend on the species and maturity of the plant with drought or wind. The same applies to the soil temperature and air as it can also slow down the nutrition for your plant’s growth.
What are The Signs of Plant Heat Stress?
If you are concerned about National Heat Awareness Day, your plants are as important as you. Some of the heat stress in plants is leaf rolling and cupping. You usually see this in your tomatoes and corn, cupping the leaves in response to the heat.
Your plants wilt when low moisture happens, creating a lack of water in your non-woody annuals or perennials. The symptoms are typically seen in non-woody annuals or perennials. As soon as temperatures drop, your plants recover. Yet, prolonged heat creates permanent damage.
Other signs are dry leaf edges and more common in your large-leaved plants as there is more leaf surface to spare and remains functional. The same can happen if a disease is present. Then you can also have ozone damage caused by high temperatures and poor air quality.
You see this in tomatoes and sometimes confuse it with a disease. You will see dry spots between the leaf veins that resemble leaf spots without the yellow halos. The same happens to veg like pumpkin, cucumber, and squash.
You can also have blossom or fruit drop, bolting, sunscald, and blossom end rot. So, how can you help to reduce heat stress in your plants?
Reducing Heat Stress In Your Plants
While the best time for watering varies, deep watering can help with heat stress. The best time to water your plants is in the morning but if you see wilted plants, then water them as soon as possible.
Another important thing is to know your plant’s roots. You will find that plants with shallow roots dry out faster. Taproots will draw water deeper into the soil. Young plants need more water than mature plants.
Even your mature trees suffer from heat exhaustion like your smaller plants but might not show stress until later. Another great way to retain moisture is to mulch your plants to prevent fast evaporation of water.
You can also provide your potted indoor plants with shade by moving them to partially shaded spots. Or you can cover them with some shade cloth. An excellent way to provide shade is with a beach umbrella in the late morning to remove later in the day.
Even leaves can take a toll, and adding more humidity in small gardens or a greenhouse helps. While adding moisture to leaves is not always recommended for all plants. Still, a bit of water can go a long way with prolonged heat.
You can give your plants a light spray of water over the canopy of leaves or your greenhouse plants in the morning. You can group your outdoor plants and mist them with a mist sprayer.
Prevent Doing The Following in Heat
We do not recommend transplanting young seedlings with extensive heat as warm soil can kill your plants. Repotting plants is already stressful for them, and high temperatures adding to the stress are not suitable.
The same applies to trimming or pruning your trees and shrubs. When you remove branches and leaves, other parts of the plant become exposed to the sun’s heat. Intense heat can result in leaf burn. While recovering, it can still look unattractive.
Furthermore, it can attract wood-boring beetles and other insects to trees. Also, wait with the fertilizing to boost growth and instead wait until the temperature cools down. It also helps to remove the competition of weeds in a heatwave as they compete with your plants for nutrients and water.
Lastly, if your plants have a pest or disease concern, applying chemicals at this time is not recommended. You can damage your plants further, and the same applies to using neem oil and a soap insecticide.
As you can see, as crucial as National Heat Awareness Day is for you, it is just as important for our plants as you need water and shade with a lather of sunscreen to protect your body.
Your plants and trees also need water with shade to survive in the heat. So to celebrate this day, make everyone you know aware of how the heat can impact them and their plants by sharing this article with others to make them more knowledgeable.
Most importantly, keep you and your plants hydrated.
Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!