By Joanna Pappo, Village Vancouver assistant gardener
With heat waves hitting Vancouver this summer, it may seem hard to keep your garden healthy through the extremes. However, there are plenty of things you can do to help your garden thrive in the heat!
During a heat wave, it’s best to water your garden early in the morning to minimize evaporation. Avoid watering midday when it’s hottest. Use mulch to keep the soil moist longer. Deeper, less frequent waterings are better for plant roots than shallower, more frequent waterings. The exception to this are potted plants, which can be watered more frequently.
Soaking the leaves of your plants can potentially lead to fungal diseases. A good preventative measure for this is to use a drip irrigation systems or soaker hoses that lay on the soil. If you need to water with a hose, take care to water the ground around plants and avoid their leaves as much as possible.
If you have potted plants, you may want to move them to a shadier spot or bring them inside to protect from burns. For the rest of the garden, you can creative with temporary makeshift structures that shade your garden from the sun, such as umbrellas, sheets attached to stakes or cardboard walls. You can also shade plants with other more drought-resistant plants.
Keep in mind that younger plants can be more susceptible to heat injury because of their less established root system and more fragile stalks and leaves. Take extra care to ensure these plants get the hydration and shade they need.
After the heat
After a heat wave, it can be helpful to cut back any leaves and flowers that have been burnt or damaged. Trimming allows plants to focus their energy on growing.
Heavy watering during a heat wave can leach out some of the nutrients in the soil. Consider adding an appropriate fertilizer to replenish lost nutrients and organic matter.
Have a gardening tip or question for Joanna? Contact us at email@example.com