July is finally upon us, and with that comes the summer heat. July is the perfect time for days on the beach, lounging at your local pool, or relaxing inside your home to cool off. While plants can’t cool themselves the way humans do, there are a few things that can help plants “beat the heat.” With a little help from landscapers and residents, they can make it through the heat of summer happy and healthy.
One way plants naturally cool themselves is through transpiration. Transpiration is the process by which moisture is carried through plants from roots to small pores on the underside of leaves. It changes from water to vapor, thereby cooling the plants leaves. Humans take part in a similar process called sweat. One way we can assist in this process is by using proper watering practices. Most plants prefer infrequent deep watering as opposed to frequent light watering. This promotes deep rooting of plants which make them much more resistant to the heat and potential drought during the long summer. For example, watering 2 days for 20 mins is typically much more productive and efficient than 4 days for 10 mins.
As detrimental as drought can be to plants, overwatering can be just as harmful, if not worse. Overwatering promotes shallow roots that cannot withstand hot summer days or droughty conditions. It can also weaken plants thereby increasing their susceptibility to insects, disease and weed infestations. In a perfect world, you would like to water plants right before they begin to wilt due to heat and lack of water. Since plants cannot talk to us directly, making proper observations and understanding plant preferences is key to determining when to water. The best time to water is in the early morning hours as it allows them to recover from the previous day’s heat and prepares them for the next hot summer day.
As we get ready to prepare ourselves for the long summer days, let’s make sure we don’t forget about our plants and lawns. These reminders can help ensure that you will get to sit back, relax and enjoy your green healthy landscape all summer long. We hope everybody has a great 4th of July, and a long fun summer!
– by Brandon Duitsman and Troy Taylor