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A Garden of Heat Waves

July 5, 2010

Here in Williamsburg, we’ve been dealing with a lot of heat, more than we usually have in June. This causes a large workload for our landscapers. However, managing the workload is important to home gardeners as well.

The most important part of gardening is you, the gardener. Especially in high temperatures, you need to make sure to take care of yourself first. Plan your work so that you accomplish the most important tasks early in the day when it is the coolest. Make sure you stay hydrated. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink water. Sports drinks replace lost electrolytes and will replace the salts you lose as you perspire. This is tough to say, being a caffeine addict myself, but coffee, tea and sodas are not helpful when you are working in the heat.

Take frequent breaks as you work, and be alert for signs of overheating, such as weakness, nausea, and pale or clammy skin. If you are working alone, you may want to arrange a buddy system, and make a phone call at a designated time to check-in. Make sure to be alert for these symptoms as they can happen to even the healthiest gardeners.

Next on this list is the plants themselves. Don’t even bother trying to plant something new. It will be hard enough to keep all your existing plants happy during these hot, dry days. I wish I could say there are plants that like this weather, but even the most durable ones want some water.

Try to water as early in the day as possible. Locally, there are county water restrictions in place for irrigation, so be sure to follow local guidelines. Stressed plants can be watered by hand any time. You probably know which plants are suffering the most in your yard.

Now is also a good time to see if all your plantings are grouped by their water needs. Are they convenient to a hose, or close enough to carry a watering can? Will grouping them differently in the fall help you water more efficiently next year? If possible, utilize a drip hose to water a group of plants after you’ve finished your other work so that all you need to do is turn the water off when you’re finished.

Don’t forget to look at the trees around your property as well. Even established trees, particularly maple and birch, are having difficulty due to our current weather pattern. Watch for signs of wilting leaves and get some water to those also.

There’s a lot to think about when working in the heat, and I know you want your garden to look its best every day. Just be sure to take care of the garden and the gardener so we can keep enjoying the garden together.

Shelia
Landscaper at Busch Gardens

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2010 3:27 pm

    Great Tips. Keep up the fantastic work at the park. Did they win most beatiful park again? The landscape is our favorite thing.

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  1. Has some hot-weather gardening advice from our world-class landscapers. | Amusement Park USA

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