Watering Your Shrubs and Ornamental Plants During the Summer Months Florida’s summer heat can be tough on your landscape shrubs and ornamentals. Extra care is needed to keep your plants alive and thriving during these hot months.
Signs of Distress The sweltering heat of summer has negative effects on some plants but not others. When plants begin to suffer from heat-related problems, they can be saved to a certain point.
The following are indications of water loss or heat stress in plants:
- Wilting leaves/Browning leaves
- Premature leaf drop
- Dry soil
- Dry root zone
- Spotting of foliage
It Matters When You Water Keeping your landscape plants watered properly is the best thing you can do to fend off environmental stress, fungi, diseases and pests. Stressed plants send out plant pheromones that attract insects to weakened plants and to the healthier shrubs and ornamentals that are nearby.
Be sure to keep your soil moist and well drained. If the soil is dry, plants have already consumed the available water and nutrients and you’re left playing catch up. If you’re transplanting a plant, a helpful trick is to create a small basin around the plant so it acts as a funnel for rainwater.
For younger plants, water often to encourage root strength and expansion. With the well established root system of more mature plants, it will be more important to let the water run deep into the ground to reach those roots. A deep root system will help protect plants from the heat, holding water longer, and being farther from the heat of the sun.
Do Not Water Midday The morning is the best time to water your plants. It prepares them for the rest of the day and gives the roots and soil a chance to absorb water because the sun doesn’t quickly come along and cause evaporation. Instead, the water has time to seep into the soil before the scorching rays of the sun cause moisture loss. If you wait to water until the middle of the day, the water will quickly evaporate in the sun and you’ll leave your plants thirsty.
If you can’t water in the morning, evening is your next best option. However, while evening watering does cool plants off from the hot summer day, the above ground parts don’t have as much time to dry off as they do in the morning, and rot and fungal growth are more likely.