|Thursday Tips: Help Plants Beat the Heat|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Thursday, 01 September 2011|
Whether you believe in global warming or not, one thing seems certain, the weather and the climate are changing. Chicory and daisies, roadside weeds that used to bloom in August 20 or 30 years ago are now blooming in July. Droughts are more prevalent and windy days are much more frequent. Even if your garden is filled with native plants, when summer rolls around it can be hotter and drier in the garden than you anticipated.
Plants in container gardens or raised beds are especially susceptible to drying out, as I discovered the other evening when I noticed that my oregano and sage, both container grown, were drooping quite noticeably. Plants grown in garden beds are at less risk for wilting because they are in the ground and the soil is probably protected by a layer of mulch. If not, make sure mulching your plants is on your to-do list! Plants that require medium to wet soil moisture may also be at risk if the soil is not naturally moist (for example a low point in the yard) because drier than usual soil conditions that might occur during periods of drought.
Wilting caused by lack of water is generally not serious unless it is prolonged. Plants are able to adapt to temporary droughts by shutting down their vascular systems. Leaves may wither and fall off, flowers and fruits may dry up, but plants usually recover quickly once they are watered. As soon as you notice plants wilting, move them into the shade, then water. You can use grey water, fresh water, or rain water. Severely wilted plants can be placed in a sink or bucket filled with water for an hour. The newly planted also tend to suffer from lack of water and should be watered sufficiently to ensure survival.