Summers in the desert garden are hot. That’s no surprise. However, there are periods within these hot months that temperatures climb higher than normal. Because of this, we do need to help protect our gardens from the effects of a heatwave.
So, what is considered a heatwave in the low to mid-altitude desert? As a rule, when the mercury edges above 110 degrees F. During a heatwave, they can even go close to 120 degrees – ouch!
Thankfully, there are things you can do to help prepare the plants within your garden right now.
Here is my #1 tip…
Water your plants deeply the night before three – four day span of 110+ degree are forecast. This is in addition to your regular drip irrigation schedule.
The goal of this supplemental irrigation is to water deeply. This allow the soil to stay moister for longer, which will benefit your plants.
Under normal circumstances, I water my plants for 1 1/2 hours. However, in preparation of a heatwave, I water 2-3 hours. Plants will need more water in order to deal with the extreme temps and the extra water that will be lost to the atmosphere through their leaves.
Don’t do this every night, only every 4 days or so during a heatwave.
My second piece of advice…
Provide temporary shade for young plants in your landscape as they are more susceptible to stress from a heatwave.
This is because they don’t have a well-established root system to uptake much water and sparser foliage, so there aren’t many leaves to shade other parts of the plant.
Shade cloth is useful for protection lasting over several months. But for short-term shade during a heatwave, you can use burlap, sheets, an umbrella, or even place a patio chair over a susceptible plant. Uncover plants once temperatures are within the normal range.
Hot temperatures are a fact of life during the desert summer as are heatwaves. But, implementing one, or both, of these tips will help the plants in your garden.
For more tips for heat-proofing your garden, check out Heatproof Garden: 5 Amazing Tips.