As August creeps around the corner in this weird, time-warp we appear to be stuck in, it seems something else is also slowly creeping in: tragedy to my plants. While they still hold tight to their summer growth, many are browning, wilting, not progressing, or downright just not looking too hot.
It's a common reaction to immediately panic. Are my plants dying?!
Just as I briefly mentioned in the previous blog post, plants struggle to grow (some stopping entirely) once temperatures reach above 80 degrees. This includes annuals, perennials, vegetables, and even the lawn.
The heat depletes much of the nutrients from our garden friends that are needed for them to grow. With a week like the one we just had where temperatures rose and kept at an average of 95 degrees nearly every day, it’s important to really focus on what your plants need right now.
Pay attention to the soil. When it gets hotter, soil gets dry faster. Make sure your lawn and garden are getting enough water. It’s best to water early in the morning before the brunt of the day’s heat.
This type of weather doesn’t always mean that your plants are dehydrated and need more water. In fact, it’s actually possible to over-water at a time like this. The best thing to do if you feel like your plant pals are thirsty is to feel their soil to see if it’s damp or dry. If they look weak and droopy but the soil around them is wet, it just means that they’re reacting to the extreme heat. But not to worry, they will perk up as soon as it cools down.
If your lawn has also been looking a little limp or you’re noticing there have been more weeds and crabgrass than usual, this is also an effect of high heat. The heat sucks out the nitrogen from your lawn, which is what helps give the grass that green, lush look you so desire and work so hard to get.
The bad news (for some) is that most of what you can do for this is be patient and wait for the
temperatures to drop a little. The good news (for all!) is that there is something you can do to help!
When the heat depletes the soil’s nutrients, it looks for them in other places. That’s where you come in!
Fertilizers will help boost growth in your plants. For my annuals and perennials, I like to use one of the many FoxFarm products (both the dry and liquid ones work wonders for blooms). These same products can be used for the vegetable garden. For the vegetables, it’s always a good idea to focus on products that boost calcium and magnesium levels like Mag-I-Cal. Milorganite is a slow-release lawn fertilizer that will help raise the nitrogen in the soil to encourage growth, re-energize the soil, and fight against those pesky weeds.
So if your landscape looks sad, wimpy, and anything like mine at the moment, do not fret! Plants, like people, tend to get a little more exhausted when the heat beats down on them. But don’t worry, they’ll be good as new in no time!