Protect Your Garden From a Heat Wave With These Cheap Solutions

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Slow Down, Hot Stuff

Temperatures in some parts of the country have been smashing records lately. If you've noticed your plants wilting faster than an ice cream cone on a summer day, it's likely because they're suffering from heat stress. 

By following these smart tips, such as watering when temperatures are cooler and using more mulch, you can help shield your garden from the fiery wrath of climate change and keep it safe from heat waves. 

Man watering flowers with a hose

Water Wisely

During a heat wave, it's important to water your garden efficiently and strategically. Consider watering in the early morning or late evening to minimize evaporation and focus on the root zones of plants, rather than wetting the entire garden. Deep watering less frequently can encourage plants to develop stronger, drought-resistant roots.

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Mulch for Moisture Retention

Apply a thick layer of mulch, such as straw or wood chips, around your plants to help them conserve moisture. This protective layer shields the soil from the scorching sun, reduces evaporation, and helps regulate soil temperature. Remember to replenish the mulch as often as needed if you notice it starting to mold or rot. Wondering where to get mulch? Services like ChipDrop will deliver mulch for free.

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Provide Shade

If possible, create temporary shade structures or use a shade cloth to help shield vulnerable plants from intense sunlight. This will help prevent wilting and sunburn damage. Or, you can also consider planting taller, shade-giving plants in strategic places to provide relief to smaller, sun-sensitive ones.

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Adjust Fertilization

In extreme heat, plants will often enter a stress period and may not require as much fertilizer. During a heat wave, reduce or halt fertilization to prevent overstimulation, which can weaken plants further. If you notice your plants wilting or see leaves curling and rolling up, these could be signs that your plants are overheating. 

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Minimize Pruning

Avoid heavy pruning during a heat wave, as this can disrupt a plant's natural cooling mechanisms and expose tender foliage to excessive heat. Instead, opt for light pruning to remove dead or damaged branches. Pruning in the cooler hours of the day or later in the evening can also be less stressful for plants.

Related: Planning on Planting? Check Out These Cheap, Year-Round DIY Greenhouse Ideas

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Increase Airflow by Removing Weeds

Proper air circulation is crucial in hot weather to prevent the buildup of heat and excessive moisture around plants. Be sure to remove invasive vegetation, such as weeds, crabgrass, and poison ivy, and gently thin out crowded areas to improve airflow. This promotes better cooling and reduces the risk of molding caused by excessive humidity.

Related: The Best Gifts for Plant Lovers and Green Thumbs

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Stay Vigilant for Pests and Diseases

Because stress weakens plants, this makes them more susceptible to pest infestations and diseases. That's why it's super important to regularly inspect your garden for signs of trouble such as insect damage or wilting — and take appropriate action promptly. Consider using organic pest control methods to maintain good plant hygiene and protect your garden from further harm.

Related: 14 Fast-Growing Flowers and Plants That Anyone Can Grow

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Opt for Heat-Resistant Crops

Consider planting varieties of vegetables and herbs that are known for their heat tolerance. Look for heat-resistant varieties such as eggplants, okra, and peppers, and herbs like basil or rosemary. These plants are more likely to thrive in scorching temperatures and can handle the heat wave with greater resilience.