With summer temperatures soaring into the high 90s yet again, the summer of 2010 is predicted to be the hottest summer since the U.S. first started keeping records in the 1880s. Unrelenting heat can take a toll on garden plants. Flower heads can wither and die before reaching full bloom. Leaves may become pale and discolored or start to drop early. Leafy plants like Hosta [http://greencirclegrowers.businesscatalyst.com/_product_58788/Hosta] can begin to look scorched, their edges turning a brittle brown. Your beautiful summer garden can start to look a bit scraggly and lifeless if you don’t take steps to protect heat-stressed plants from permanent damage.
Take these steps to help protect heat-stressed plants:
- To help plants conserve energy, remove spent blossoms to prevent self-sowing. To, deadhead flowers, cut or pinch dead flower heads off the stem anywhere below the head.
- If plants have become leggy-looking, encourage new, more compact growth by cutting stems back to the nodes where leaves attach to the stem.
- To encourage more robust growth in multi-stemmed plants like Alyssum or Lobelia, use grass clippers or garden shears to cut plants back to nodes en masse.
- Water thoroughly during dry spells and prolonged heat. Water if heat continues past 2 days or plants begin to wilt.
- Fertilize your garden now if you haven’t already done so this month. Use 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 granular or liquid fertilizer. When using granular fertilizers be careful to hose grains off plants to prevent fertilizer burn.
- Dead-leaf plants to improve your garden’s appearance. Remove accumulated dead leaves from plants. You may only have to remove one or two Seed Geranium leaves, but Hemerocallis Daylilies may require removal of a layer or two of yellowed leaves at the bottom of the plant.
- Perennials like Leucanthemum, also known as Shasta Daisies, that have completed blooming and are beginning to die back can be cut off at the base to encourage new growth.