Thursday, July 8, 2010

Chapter 4 Handling the Heat

When you feel the heat your flowers feel the heat

It must be 95 degrees today, full sun. We have had the air-conditioning on since 8:30 AM. There is no air-condition for our flowers, however.

I looked at my Hydrangea about 5:00 PM yesterday and virtually every bloom was hanging; totally limp from the heat. A soon as I noticed the sad shape of my star performer I got the hose out and gave it a serious drenching of water. I have great water pressure and I watered with my 'water wand' all around the plant and in the center of the plant where the thickest part of the roots congregate. Within 20 minutes Ms. Hydrangea perked up and was as impressive as ever. I was happy again.

Do you use a 'watering wand' when you water? The nice thing about the wand, versus a standard nozzle attachment, is that the wand disperses the water over a wide area and the water is softer when it hits the soil, or the plant. A standard nozzle just doesn't seem to have the appropriate adjustment, even though I've tried them all.

I have noticed that several of my neighbors tend to water the entire plant when they water. I have 'bit my tongue' to purposely avoid lecturing any of my friends about the downside of watering the leaves of the plant. Since you understand I am just discussing practical ideas I have learned from experience, you wont be offended. Good. The fact is unless we are dealing with tropical plants such as ferns or orchids (that may prefer a misting now and then) it is the plants roots that absorb the water the plant needs to be healthy and achieve its full potential. Therefore, we want to water the soil around the plant, not so much the leaves. I know many of you know this; so forgive me. But if this is a new insight for you, than you have gained a worthwhile tip.

One more point. You can damage the bloom or the leaves by watering them directly. What if I have a sprinkler system, and have no control of the watering system? Some of you may have had an irrigation system installed when your lawn and landscape was completed. As long as the water pressure is not excessive you should be alright; but it may not be ideal. The preferred approach is to protect the blooms and the integrity of the leaf system by avoiding direct contact with the water.

How often do you need to water when it's super hot?

So how often do you need to water when the temperature is in the 90's with no let up? The best thing is to observe your plants; take your cue from the way they look. If they are wilting badly, they are in need of water. While I normally prefer watering in early evening or early morning, if my Hydrangea looks like it is dying of 'heat stroke' I water in the middle of the afternoon. So far today, the drink I gave her yesterday is carrying her through the heat of the day. My guess is about 4:30 PM it is going to go limp again.

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