drought stricken lawn

Tips for Watering and Protecting Plants and Grass During Extreme Heat

Caring for Plants and Grass During the Heat of Summer

As the temperature rises above 100 degrees, it's crucial to adjust your watering, plant food applications, grass fertilization,  and protection strategies to ensure the health and survival of your plants and grass. High temperatures can quickly dry out soil and stress vegetation, making them more susceptible to damage. Here are some essential tips to help you navigate extreme heat conditions and keep your plants and grass thriving:

  1. Watering Guidelines
  • Frequency: Increase the frequency of watering during hot weather. Water early in the morning or late in the evening to minimize evaporation.  It is important not to overwater however and not to water every day.  Negative effects of overwatering include root rot, which can damage the plant's root system, and nutrient depletion due to leaching of essential nutrients from the soil. Additionally, plants may develop a dependency on frequent watering, resulting in shallow root systems that are less resilient to drought. To mitigate these issues, it is recommended to monitor soil moisture before watering, adjust watering schedules based on plant needs and weather conditions, opt for deep watering less frequently, use mulch for moisture retention, and select drought-resistant plant species. Striking a balance between watering and considering plant-specific requirements is crucial to prevent negative consequences. Deep watering encourages deeper root growth, while mulching helps retain moisture and regulate soil temperature around plants and trees.  Invest in a battery operated water content measuring meter and check before watering.  It’s easy and your plants and grass will love you!
    man watering lawn
  1. Plant-Specific Care
  • Drought-Tolerant Plants: If you live in an area where watering is restricted such as Northern California, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada, consider planting drought-tolerant species that require less water and are more resilient to extreme heat.  Here are 10 heat-tolerant plants along with brief care tips for each:
  • Lantana
  • Care: Plant in well-draining soil, provide full sun, and water regularly but allow the soil to dry out between watering sessions.  
  • Zinnias
  • Care: Plant in a warm, sunny location, water regularly, and deadhead spent blooms to encourage continuous flowering.
  • Blanket Flower
  • Care: Requires full sun, well-drained soil, and deadheading to prolong blooming periods.
    Blanket Flower
  • Coreopsis
  • Care: Thrives in full sun, tolerates poor soil conditions, and benefits from occasional deadheading.
  • Cosmos
  • Care: Plant in full sun, provide well-drained soil, and deadhead faded flowers to promote more blooms.
    cosmos flowers
  • Mexican Sunflower
  • Care: Prefers full sun, well-draining soil, and deadheading for prolonged flowering.
    Mexican Sunflower
  • Pine-Leaf Penstemon
  • Care: Plant in well-drained soil, provide full sun, and trim back after flowering to maintain shape.
  • Portulaca
  • Care: Requires full sun, well-drained soil, and minimal watering once established.
  • Coneflower (Echinacea)
  • Care:  Plant in a sunny location, water sparingly once established, and deadhead spent blooms to encourage new growth. 
    Coneflower Echinacea
    ant in a sunny location, water sparingly once established, and deadhead spent blooms to encourage new growth.
  • Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)
  • Care: Thrives in full sun, well-drained soil, and benefits from light pruning after flowering to maintain shape.
    autumn sage
  • These plants are resilient to heat and can thrive with proper care in hot weather conditions.
  • Container Plants: Check container plants more frequently as they tend to dry out faster than plants in the ground. Provide shade for potted plants during peak sunlight hours.
  1. Grass Care
  • Mowing Height: Raise the mower blade to a higher setting to allow grass to shade the soil, reducing moisture loss.
    man mowing lawn
  • Avoid Fertilizing: Refrain from fertilizing the lawn during periods of extreme heat as this can stress the grass further.  Especially granular nitrogen fertilizers, they tend to have a higher salt index than liquid nitrogen fertilizers and can burn up plants and grass if not applied at the right time and watered sufficiently.
  1. Protection Strategies
  • Shade Cloth: Install temporary shade cloth over delicate plants to provide relief from direct sunlight.
  • Windbreaks: Erect temporary windbreaks to shield plants from hot, drying winds.
  • Reduce Stress: Minimize any additional stress on plants such as pruning or transplanting during extreme heatwaves.
  1. Additional Tips
  • Group Plants: Group plants with similar water requirements together to make watering more efficient.
  • Watering Techniques: Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to deliver water directly to the roots while minimizing evaporation.

By following these guidelines and remaining vigilant in monitoring your plants and grass during extreme heat, you can help them withstand challenging conditions and thrive despite the high temperatures. Remember that proactive care and adjustments are key to maintaining a healthy garden during hot weather.

lush green lawn