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How to Mitigate Heat Stress in Your Garden

Updated: May 23

Person wearing a red shirt watering garden plants with a green watering can

Given the sometimes harsh and unforgiving conditions of summer, any garden can fall victim to the effects of heat stress. Rising temperatures and prolonged heatwaves pose significant challenges for plants that lead to wilting, stunted growth, and without intervention. With careful planning and proactive measures, however, you can create a resilient landscape that thrives even in the hottest conditions. We've got some essential tips to help you mitigate heat stress and ensure the well-being of your garden.

Choose heat tolerant plants

One of the fundamental steps in combating heat stress is selecting plant varieties that are naturally adapted to high temperatures. Look for heat and drought-tolerant species like yucca, cacti, and native grasses, and in milder climates, herbs. These plants have evolved mechanisms to conserve water, such as waxy leaves or deep root systems. Incorporating them into your garden will ensure better resilience against heat stress.

Water efficiently

Proper watering practices are crucial for alleviating heat stress. Water your plants deeply and infrequently, preferably during early morning or late evening when evaporation rates are lower. Water the soil rather than the leaves to prevent excessive moisture loss through evaporation, this will also help reduce diseases, fungus, and sun scald on your plants. Mulching around your plants with organic materials like straw or wood chips can help retain soil moisture and reduce temperature fluctuations. Additionally, consider installing a drip irrigation system or soaker hoses to deliver water directly to the plant's roots, reducing wastage and ensuring efficient hydration. Regardless of method, less frequent waterings help keep plant roots from staying too shallow. Allow for the roots to hunt for water deeper in the ground, making a more resilient plant.

Provide Adequate Shade

Shade plays a vital role in shielding plants from direct sunlight and reducing heat stress. Strategically position shade structures like pergolas, arbors, or shade cloths (only 30-50% shade rating is necessary for most plants) to provide protection during the hottest parts of the day. Consider planting tall shade trees and shrubs strategically around your garden to create natural cooling areas. By implementing shading techniques, you can maintain a cooler microclimate and safeguard your plants from the scorching sun.

improve soil health and resiliency

Healthy soil acts as a buffer against heat stress by retaining moisture and providing essential nutrients to plants. Amend or plant your beds with EarthMix® SuperNatural™ Organic Compost and/or ReLeaf™ Organic Leaf Compost to enhance its water-holding capacity and promote beneficial microbial activity. The added mycorrhiza fungi in SuperNatural™ will improve the overall health, root networks, and resilience of your garden plants. Additionally, applying a layer of organic mulch will regulate soil temperature, minimize evaporation, and inhibit weed growth. It's truly a winning combination.

Mitigating heat stress in your garden requires a combination of careful plant selection, efficient watering, strategic shading, and soil management. By following these tips and using EarthMix® Garden Products, you can create a flourishing oasis even in hot climates.

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