Heat wave: take care of your garden– and yourself!

chair in shade
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

 

by Connie Oswald Stofko

Western New York is feeling the heat wave that is moving across the country.

“If there was a time to water, this is it,” said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County.

Pay special attention to trees and shrubs that have been planted in the last couple years, Farfaglia said. Those are the plants that will suffer the most if they’re not watered. Make sure you water deeply.

Hanging baskets can dry out quickly. You’ll have to water them daily, maybe even multiple times a day, depending on where the container is located and the size of the container. Small containers dry out more quickly than larger containers.

Then water all of your containers and your landscape plants, especially ones that were recently planted.

Your lawn might look brown, as if it’s going dormant, and that’s normal, Farfaglia said. The grass will come back as soon as the weather changes and we get some rain, so don’t bother watering your lawn.

“You probably don’t want to fight Mother Nature,” Farfaglia said. “Just let it go. I’d rather put water on my landscape plants and potted things. They won’t come back if they’re too stressed by the drought, but the lawn will.”

Watering in the morning before the air gets warm is efficient for your plants because the water can get down where it is needed. If you wait until the hot afternoon, the water will evaporate quickly.

During this kind of weather, you can also water in the early evening before the sun goes down, Farfaglia said. Normally you don’t water in the evening because wet leaves and cool air can allow fungus to form, but this hot weather doesn’t favor fungal development.

What else should you do in your garden during a heat wave?

Find some shade, sit down and drink a cool beverage.

It can be dangerous to work in the sun when the temperatures are in the 90s. The humidity can make it feel even hotter.

As a hobbyist, there is no need for you to be working outside in the sun.

The weeds will wait. The tall grass will wait.

Think of it as a snow day. Only warmer.

Just sit and enjoy your garden.

10 Comments on “Heat wave: take care of your garden– and yourself!

  1. Syed, it is possible to overwater plants, but you’re right. If your containers have good drainage, it certainly would be difficult to overwater in this heat!

  2. I think it may be wise not to cut grass too short as it exposes the roots which can be damaged by extreme heat I try not to cut it too short Lk leave at least four inches in summer this way grass looks green and you don’t have to water lawn too much in summer otherwise gardens look like hay fields if they are cut too short any comments or advice

  3. Remember to put some sprigs of fresh herbs in your beverage of choice! Go beyond mint and try lavender, sage, thyme, basil, etc.; this also helps prune your plants and avoid bolting. Cheers! 🍹

  4. I found planting marigolds in middle of vegetable garden keeps some insects away a natural way to prevent disease

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