Tips to Help Your Landscape Survive a Heat Wave

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A heat wave is a period of unusually high temperatures lasting more than two days. Extreme heat events can trigger heat wave conditions in humans, animals as well as plants.

When temperatures are exceptionally high, plants lose water faster than their roots are able to absorb it. High soil temperatures can affect plant growth and even kill plants.

Heat stress induced in ornamental plants by high temperatures can delay flowering, cause leaf /flower deformities and scorch markings on leaves and stems. Also, extreme heat stress can negatively affect plant photosynthetic and transpiration efficiencies.

Yellow flowers and green bushes moving up the hillside.

Here are some tips that can help your garden survive a heat wave.

Water Deeply and Early

During periods of extreme heat, plants rapidly lose water through transpiration. To ensure your plants stay hydrated and healthy during a heat wave, water them deeply regularly.

The best time to water plants in a heat wave is early in the morning or late evening-after sunset as the rate of evaporation is low during these times.

Yellow and green bushes in front of a tan house.

Shade Your Plants

Move your potted plants to a shaded or cooler area in your garden and cover them with a fabric sun cloth. A quality fabric sun cloth comprises breathable fabric and is designed to block out sunlight to protect plants from heat. Moving plants in the shade is an effective way to reduce water loss through evaporation so they stay hydrated longer after watering.


High soil temperatures can cause damage to the root system of a plant. To keep garden soil cool, apply a layer of mulch around shrubs, trees, and ground covers. Not only does mulch help retain soil moisture, but it also insulates the soil and prevents weeds which can compete with your plants for essential nutrients. The layer of mulch should be three inches thick around the plants. Keep mulch at least six inches away from tree trunks.

When used incorrectly, mulch can be counterproductive. If you do not know the right way to apply mulch, outsource the task to a landscape contractor in Sonoma County.

An outdoor patio with a table and small fountain.

Avoid Fertilizing Your Lawn

During a heat wave, plants and trees are under extreme heat stress. Fertilizing them can only make matters worse. Exhausted plants have no energy and can’t consume nitrogen and other nutrients from fertilizers.

As a result, fertilizers remain in the soil and can burn plants. Wait until the temperature drops before applying fertilizer. If some of your plants require regular fertilization, plan before a heat wave. Apply a heat stress preventive fertilizer to such plants before heatwaves strike or contact a landscape contractor in Sonoma County to get the job done for you.

Do not Prune Your Plants

It’s tempting to prune sunburned plants. Though sunburned growth is unsightly and may look damaged, it may be protecting the interior of the plant by providing shade. You can prune sunburned plants after summer.

Yellow and purple flowers in front of a yellow house.

Was your garden badly affected by a heatwave? Gardenworks can help you bring it back to life. Our landscaping experts have acquired specialized knowledge. They can look at landscaping problems from different perspectives. To make an appointment, call 707-857-2050.