Just as we were publishing the monthly update, July 5th, we asked Extension Master Gardeners how hot it was.
University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension reported that it was 66 degrees in Alaska on July 5th, but that was the exception to the rule. Most of the posts we saw on our Facebook page said temperatures were hanging around 100 degrees.
How Master Gardeners Help Plants Survive Heat and Drought
July 6th, we asked how they were getting their plants to survive. We heard a lot of good advice about helping the garden endure the heat, while still conserving water. In summary, this is how Extension Master Gardeners are getting their plants to survive (or possibly even thrive).
- water in the morning
- water deeply, less frequently (rather than lightly, and more frequently)
- use native plants that require less water
- use the right plant in the right place (so they need less water)
- group plants with similar moisture needs in your landscape so watering can be focused where needed
- mulch (to conserve soil moisture)
- use rain barrels to water plants
Of course, high temperatures are even more problematic when plants are stressed by lack of water or drought. When we posted the U.S drought monitor map, the Madison County Area Master Gardener Association, commented:
“We are in a ‘severe, long-term’ drought area. It’s so bad that even the trees are turning brown and dropping their leaves.”
Resources for growing plants in drought
One look at the U.S. Drought map, and you’ll see the Madison County Master Gardener Association in Indiana is not alone. In fact, you’ll note many gardeners across the country are facing abnormally dry or drought conditions. So how do you deal with these conditions?
Your county or state extension service likely distributes timely information about how to cope with heat and drought, such as this press release from Kansas State University, Leaf Loss Means Tree Stress, which includes two resources: Watering Newly Planted and Young Trees and Shrubs and Watering Established Trees and Shrubs.
Assembled by extension professionals in the Extension Disaster Education Network, the home and landscape list of drought resources is another source of drought information you might find useful.
Hot Tweets to Help Plants
Below we’d like to share some tweets from extension educators and communicators from across the country. Note how are others dealing with heat and/or drought and click on the links in the tweets to access see how others are working to keep plants and landscapes as healthy as possible during these
warm hot scorching months of summer.
Colorado’s drought declared a crop disaster, CSU says trees at risk – bit.ly/N6tDWt
— Steven Newman (@newman7118) July 4, 2012
For Plants, Heat Isn’t the Only Problem: bit.ly/N4qcja
— Jennifer Smith (@dgco_gardener) July 2, 2012
— UACES (@uaceshomegarden) June 29, 2012
Avoid using herbicide when it is very hot. Carefully follow directions using any chemical, including fertilizer, to avoid burning plants.
— Home&Garden Info (@UMDHGIC) June 29, 2012
Just like us, plants vary in how well they tolerate heat-U of IL Extension bit.ly/MNvRh4
— Ron Wolford (@kidsgardening) June 26, 2012
Do you have a tip for growing plants in the heat of summer? Has heat or drought caused problems for your plants or garden?
eXtension Consumer Horticulture Content Coordinator