by Andrea Laine, EMGV
Summer of 2022 marched in like a lion yesterday, and the forecast reads hot, hot, hot as far the eye can see. While the greater Durham area isn’t currently experiencing drought, NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (https://www.drought.gov/states/north-carolina) currently shows large areas of North Carolina experiencing extreme dryness, moderate drought, and even some severe drought. Of course, scorching temps and lack of rain have major implications for your garden and landscape. These tough conditions make EMGV Andrea Laine’s 2018 article below on watering a must for your summer reading list!
The good news is there are currently no drought advisories in North Carolina. The southeast received an average of 7.05 inches of precipitation in May, way above normal. So, we entered June strong. But with the heat index pushing temperatures way past 90°F this week, gardeners do need to be mindful about watering.
Here are helpful reminders:
- During periods of extremely hot weather, a plant can lose water through transpiration faster than its roots can take water from the soil, which is why we see wilting on hot days even when we’ve had ample rainfall. Learn more about the hows and whys of wilting. https://durhammastergardeners.com/2016/08/25/why-plants-wilt/
- Watering deeply once per week will generally do more for a plant’s sustainability than shallow watering more frequently. Make the most of your irrigation with wise watering tips. https://durhammastergardeners.com/2015/08/06/wise-watering-tips/
- If your garden contains recently planted trees or shrubs, keep a close eye on them during extreme weather conditions. Check out this article on best practices for these newly-panted specimens. https://durhammastergardeners.com/2017/10/22/best-practices-planting-trees-and-shrubs/
- Plants grown in containers will likely need more frequent watering during hot weather; twice a day (early morning and later afternoon) is not unusual. Avoid watering anything after sunset. https://durhammastergardeners.com/2018/04/25/best-practices-for-container-gardening/
- Don’t overlook the lawn. Turfgrasses are unable to photosynthesize (produce food from sunlight) without water. North Carolina State’s “Water Requirements of North Carolina Turfgrasses” is an excellent resource to help water your lawn effectively. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/water-requirements-of-north-carolina-turfgrasses
- Even warm-season vegetable plants have their limits and will temporarily stop bearing flowers or fruits during heat waves. Read about the effects of hot temps on your vegetable yields. https://chatham.ces.ncsu.edu/2015/06/hot-weather-reduces-vegetable-yields-2/
Knowing when to water, how to water, how much, and how often to water can make or break your garden. Follow these reminders and keep your plants happy and healthy despite the heat.
Additional Resources and Information
North Carolina Sate University Extension’s tips on how to water your garden during heat waves can help your plants survive extreme summer temps.
Clemson University’s Home and Information Garden Center has a thorough list of drought tolerant plants for hot and dry conditions.
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