We all puff and sweat during a heatwave, and so do your poor plants. It would be a shame that those few tropical hot days would permanently kill your plants. So, provide temporary extra protection, give enough water, and prevent dehydration. Even plants that can withstand drought and sun under normal temperatures can use the shade in extreme heat because your plants can also burn, and then ‘after sun’ does not help.
Would you like to be able to enjoy yourself in your garden without melting? Read more tips to keep your garden cool here.
Plants in pots are particularly vulnerable during hot and dry periods. They are even more at risk of dehydration than the plants in open ground.
• If possible, move the pots to a shady spot. Don’t forget the hang baskets!
• By putting pot plants close together you prevent evaporation (and you need to do less with the watering can).
• Tip: Light pots are less likely to heat up as dark-colored pots.
• If possible, you should even put them indoors during the hottest hours.
• Water in the evening, then evaporate the least.
• Place the pots (with hole) in a bowl of water.
• It is best to pour water straight to the plant such as basil several times a day.
• If you see limping leaves, don’t wait till night, give extra water right away.
• Make some dimples around your plants so that the water moves into the ground in the right places.
• Do not cut away unnecessary leaves, the leaves underneath will burn faster. Wait till after the heatwave.
Greenhouses become saunas
• Leave the windows open both day and night for good air circulation. In strong winds, only ajar.
• Beware of too much draught: draughts can cause more evaporation (and damage) than a slightly higher temperature.
• Hang shade cloths, straw, and bamboo mats to lower the temperature, especially on the south side.
• Attach the shade cloths or mats on the outside to keep out as much heat as possible.
• Tip: shade cloths are better in whites. After the heatwave, there is plenty of light, so remove them immediately.
Healthy turf is always more resistant to drought than an unattended lawn. It is important that your lawn can start the summer optimally thanks to sufficient soil improver and fertilizers. You have to make those preparations as early as the spring, but you will certainly reap the benefits of the summer that follows. Read more about getting your lawn ready for summer here.
• Seeding? Opt for a grass mix that is well drought resistant. Read more about choosing grass seed here.
• Newly sown? Moisten the ground and cover it with wet newspapers or straw to prevent evaporation.
Create a shadow
• Create as much shade as possible with a shade cloth, tarpaulin, parasol, or even an old sheet.
• A shade sail is ideal because it stops the bright sun rays but still allows light to pass through.
• During a heatwave, aesthetics are of little importance: shade makes the difference between life and death!
Watering is crucial, but it is also important to ensure that it effectively gets to the roots and does not evaporate immediately. Covering the soil with a thick layer of organic matter is called mulching and is the best way to prevent dehydration of the soil. This not only helps to keep your plants alive but also all the small useful organisms that live in the soil and keep the natural balance in balance. A layer of mulch can consist of mowed grass, chopped branches, compost, tree bark, straw, lava stones. This organic layer is insulating against heat, protects against direct sun rays, and prevents evaporation from the ground. Moreover, it is not only useful during a heatwave, it helps to stop weeds all year round.
Water, water and more water
Watering is crucial to get through dry and hot days. You don’t just do this during the heatwave, but you do it anyway. With modern technology, the weathermen and women know how to warn us in time. The older days, you don’t get alert to help to prepare your plants in the bad weather, therefore, prevention is a cure to your garden.
So start giving plants extra water a few days in advance so that the roots can adapt and any fruits can add enough moisture. It is always better to water before the leaves droop limply than when they are already hanging at half-mast to bring them back “to life”. To find out when to pour, it is best to check the ground by sticking your finger a few centimeters deep. If your finger stays dry, give a large quantity immediately.
• Water more often than normal during a heatwave.
• The best time to water is in the morning before the sun rises.
• It is better to water a lot once a day than to spread smaller watering.
• Tip: with an automatic system you are always sure that all your plants get enough water.
• Rainwater is low in lime and therefore ideal for watering your garden.
On the one hand, you want to avoid the moisture from the ground evaporating because then too little water gets to the roots. On the other hand, evaporation is desirable to increase the humidity. So it is best to spray your plants in a targeted and sufficient way at the base, but then also the soil (at best the mulch layer) between them. You can also put a large pot of water next to your potted plants. It is better to use the evaporated moisture to give your plants extra cooling than to overdose on the water in which they drown.
You might think that during difficult periods your plants can use an extra energy boost, but nothing could be further from the truth. Extra fertilization is better not done during a heatwave because fertilizers just hinder the water intake. For example, if you were to sprinkle grains, the salinity in the soil would shoot up and saltwater would be more difficult to absorbed by plant roots. So you just make it more difficult for them and, moreover, the fertilizer is also lost. The risk of burning is also extra high in dry and hot weather. Therefore, use is not recommended above a certain temperature. So always follow the instructions for use on the packaging.
The droplet hose is a water hose with every 30 cm holes, which you place with your plants, and along which the water slowly and directed drips into the soil, towards the roots. In fact, it is not a hole, but a membrane, a thin fleece, through which the water, under pressure, comes dripped through, and then closes itself again, so that no dirt can get into the hose. Thanks to this clever technique, the holes can’t hide. There are also porous droplets, which “sweat” the water outward.
Visually, you barely notice any of that black irrigation hose. You can also hide them perfectly under a layer of bark or other mulch. What’s more, you can even save extra water: under the mulch, the water barely evaporates, and every drop goes to your plants.
This smart irrigation is ideal for a newly planted hedge, a strip of young hydrangeas, a new tree, or for a border on dry sandy soil. With trees, it is best not to place the hose along the trunk, but in a circle around it, so that the whole root is given even water. In this way, your plants experience much less stress, and can continuously grow and flower.
On the other hand, you consume a lot less water, by working in a focused way. With a drop hose, you limit your water consumption for the garden to 70%!
Programmable with computer
You can easily install a drop hose yourself, and possibly shift it, if a particular plant no longer needs extra water over time. Thanks to a clever technique, the water, regardless of the water pressure of your water pipe, runs evenly and with a constant number of gallons per hour through the pipes, along the entire length of the route.
You can manually turn your drip system on and off, control your drip system with a simple computer with timer, or connect a real watering computer to your tap, with sensors that measure the humidity of the ground. If you are going on holiday, the computer will arrange the watering for you. That same computer possibly controls the sprinklers in your lawn, and your robotic mower, so you don’t have to worry anymore. Read more about watering your garden without worries here.
Don’t you feel like dragging watering cans and garden hose on your terrace anymore? There are smaller, adapted drip systems for patio plants, such as Gardena micro-drip. Through tubes that you push into your pots, the water drips evenly into the potting soil; you can connect up to 10 pots to it. The drizzle is done automatically, with an accompanying watering computer with a timer that you connect to the outside crane. No tap or power socket on your balcony? There is now also a mini drop system with a solar panel, the Aquabloom, which sucks the water from a ton or bucket on its own, and distributes it over the pots.