How to protect your garden during a HEAT WAVE

*When to water *Keeping roots cool *Minimizing heat stress....

Cape Town has been hit with a few heat waves this summer already, but it's not only humans and pets who get uncomfortable during these high temperatures.

Prolonged high temperatures also bring a lot of stress to gardens, but luckily there are a few things you can do (and avoid doing) to help your plants beat the heat!


When to water:

Try to water first thing in the morning.

(Seem like a chore? Keep in mind that a walk around the garden before heading to work can really clear the head!)

An early soaking will keep the soil cool as temperatures rise. It will allow plants sufficient water to get through the heat of the day. (Between 10h00 and 15h00 one can lose up to 90% of water to evaporation!).

If mornings aren’t an option for you, the next best time to water is in the evening.

However, if the nights are cool, fungus problems (like mildew) may become a problem.

Avoid overhead watering in the afternoon heat!

Not only is it highly wasteful—most of the water just ends up evaporating before it has a chance to soak into the ground—but it’s expensive, as well.

And don’t water when it is windy. Wind results in increased evaporation.


Keeping roots cool:

It helps to know that plants have different types of root systems depending on where they come from.

Some have deeper roots and are therefore better equipped to handle dry conditions.

Others have roots close to the surface. Try to give these a little extra water;

otherwise, when the soil dries and hardens, it could damage the roots.

Keep in mind that dark coloured soil absorbs heat like a sponge, and hot soil can be dangerous to the roots just underneath the surface.

Keep the soil cool by adding mulch around heat-sensitive plants. Bark nuggets work well for this purpose.

(*Remember to never let the mulch touch the main stems of your plants!)

*Photo shared from @durbanville.landscaping on Instagram

Minimizing heat stress:

Don't mow your lawn that often!

Keep your lawn a little longer in the heat - longer grass blades will help keep the roots cool by shading the soil.

It's best not to transplant plants in the heat of the summer - plants are more under stress. Wait until the weather cools off a little.

*Photo: Life is a garden

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