PLANT CARE & THE EFFECTS OF EXTREME WEATHER
Phoenix Landscape Designs, Plants, Trees, Cacti and Proper Care during the extreme heat
OUTDOOR PLANT MAINTENANCE
Plants Feel the Heat, JUST LIKE US!
With over 50 days of 110-degree weather in the valley, the extreme heat is taking a toll on many species of trees and shrubs. Record setting temperatures are not great for your health, mentally or physically and mine either! Well plant material is the same way. Remember plants and trees are all living things that breathe and need water just like you and me. They can even get a sunburn.
HEAT STRESS ON PLANTS
What happens to our plants in these conditions?
According to Jeff Iles with the Department of Horticulture, high temperatures are unfavorable for the growth of many plant species because the rate of photosynthesis (the process by which plants convert the energy of the sun into chemical energy – complex sugars) begins to decline rapidly after a critical high temperature is reached, resulting in the breakdown of tissue. Photosynthesis occurs during the day and at considerably higher rates than respiration (the process by which plants convert the stored chemical energy into energy to fuel growth) which continues day and night. If photosynthesis is unable to replenish the stored chemical reserves used overnight by respiration, the plant will start to decline, exhibiting death of leaf tips and margins, branches and roots, eventually resulting in death of the plant. If extreme heat continues for weeks at a time, more plants may die.
It is difficult to define one critical high temperature for landscape plants because it varies with species, however, temperatures in the 90's and 100's undoubtedly slow this important light-energy to chemical-energy conversion for many plants.
Finally, high temperatures may cause severe water loss (desiccation) when transpiration (the process by which leaves release water vapor to the atmosphere) exceeds moisture absorption by the roots. As the water content in leaves decreases, leaves wilt slowing the rate of water loss, but this causes leaf temperatures to increase because of reduced evaporative cooling. Again, if unfavorably high temperatures persist, this cycle can worsen so that a portion, or all the leaf will die.
TAKING CARE OF PLANTS
How should we care for plants in hot weather?
● It is recommended to water plants deeply, ideally first thing in the morning while temperatures and transpiration rates are lower.
● Mulch or apply granite to help keep soil temperatures lower, retain moisture, suppress weeds and improve soil health.
● Move potted plants to a shaded area. Beware of potted plants close to a wall that might receive radiant and or reflective heat during the day.
● Set up shade cloth for young tender plants.
● Watch the leaves on your plants. Leaves wilt during extremely hot and sunny days as a defense mechanism. If water regimens are sufficient but the plant does not perk up in the evening or after watering in the morning, then it might be a sign that soil water is not the problem.
● Practice sustainable landscape management. The best defense for extreme weather is having healthy plants. Caring for them year-round with the right fertilizers and amendments, seasonal pruning, and good watering practices are the best way to help your plants make it through extreme weather.
Below are some examples of thriving plants that have been used in a Phoenix Landscape Designs and the landscape construction was installed by Ground Zero Landscape and Construction LLC.
(Above Left) Queen of Sheba (Above Middle) Red Hibiscus (Above Right) Bougainvillea
Phoenix Landscape Design Peoria Landscape Design Queen Creek Landscape Design
Below are some examples of desert plants and trees that have been exposed to extreme heat temperatures and are in failing health. These were used in a Scottsdale Landscape Design, a Surprise Desert Landscape and a Phoenix Landscape Design the landscape installation and construction were installed and completed by Ground Zero Landscape and Construction LLC.
(Above) Texas Mountain Laurel Scottsdale (Above) Cirrus Cactus Surprise Landscape
Landscape Design Scottsdale AZ Design Surprise AZ