July 28, 2022 It’s finally summer which means months of plant care throughout the winter and spring have paid off. Landscapes look happy, healthy, and green. However, during a summer heat wave, valued landscape plants get the brunt of the sun and sometimes suffer from sun stress. Don’t let tons of hard work go to waste! Knowing the signs of heat stress and the steps to revert it will help maintain your valued plants’ health all year round. Knowing The Signs When temperatures reach above 90°F, it is fundamental to check plants for signs of heat stress. The following are some common signs to look out for: Wilting The most common sign that a plant is heat-stressed is the presence of wilting. When plants become dehydrated due to lack of water, they dry up and become crunchy and discolored. It is vital to handle this right away as prolonged wilting can cause plant death. Sunscald Interestingly, plants, trees, and shrubs can suffer from sunburn just as human beings can. Exposure to excessive strong sunlight causes outer layer damage called sunscald. Sunscald can appear in the form of lesions or damaged spots and may lead to permanent damage. Falling Branches and Leaves Another tell-tale sign that a plant has become a victim of the sun is falling branches and leaves. For example, trees undergo self-thinning when there are not enough resources. A dehydrated, sun-stressed tree will drop its branches and leaves to conserve water for its healthiest regions. Caring For Summer Stressed Plants If you have noticed the signs mentioned above on your landscape, taking corrective measures can help return your plants to their healthy states. Watering The presence of temporary wilting is a dehydrated plant’s cry for help. When this happens, or to avoid wilting altogether, it is best practice to water trees and shrubs when the top of the soil has become dry. It is essential to apply the proper amount of water to avoid over-watering and under-watering. The best way to ensure plants get the water they need is by creating a unique, customized watering plan. Mulching Another pro care tip is to add mulch to protect plants from the sun’s heat. Mulch has insulation capabilities that guard a plant’s roots against extreme temperatures. A good rule of thumb is to apply between four to six inches of mulch for best results. Follow mulching best practices to avoid the potential consequences of improper mulching. Weeding Landscape weeds are generally more tolerant to the sun’s harsh conditions and summer drought. Weeds compete with valued plants for essential resources such as water and nutrition. When ignored, weeds take over gardens and landscapes by acquiring all available resources. Without the vital ingredients needed to thrive, plants may become stressed or die. Therefore, frequent weeding is critical. Preventative Actions Being proactive in checking plants frequently during high-temperature periods will help mitigate the problem before it causes permanent damage. In addition, maintaining routine landscape upkeep can prevent summer stress entirely. Proper maintenance includes hydration, mulching, clean-up, and so on. Best plant care practices vary depending on the type of plant, so this will require some research. Even better, save yourself from the time and hassle of landscape research by hiring an expert for tailored advice. Our team at Front Range Arborists will do the heavy lifting for you so you can spend your time enjoying the summer with friends and family. Please fill out our online form to get a free estimate from one of our fully trained professionals and certified arborists. We’ll create a detailed assessment highlighting our recommended services for your valued landscape!