Do you have heat related plant damage? T

Do you have heat related plant damage?

The burning question among gardeners is what to do about all the heat-damaged foliage on garden plants. Burnt leaves and fronds in the garden look awful and are a constant reminder of the hot, dry weather we’ve been experiencing.

Ugly as it is, the best thing to do about burnt growth is to leave it be and to provide as much water as possible to damaged plants. Regular deep watering helps plants to recover.

Our natural instinct when we see burnt or damaged growth is to reach for the clippers to prune it away. The damaged growth is offering some protection to the foliage beneath.

Damage from heat is likely as temperatures climb above 95 degrees. Remember, too, plants can be burnt by reflected heat from nearby hard surfaces including paving, fences and walls.

1. Hold off pruning:
The reason to wait before cutting plants back is that pruning stimulates new growth from lower down on the stem. Fresh new growth is soft and quite likely to be burnt or even killed by high temperatures and a lack of water.
Even without cutting plants back new growth will occur as plants struggle to recover. Over the next few weeks burnt leaves on trees and shrubs will be discarded. It will look as if autumn has come early.
Plants that are completely dead, which may include shrubs, annuals and vegetables can be removed. Cover the bare area that is left by removing a plant with a layer of organic mulch. Replanting can occur in autumn when temperatures will be cooler and the days shorter.
Once it looks as if there has been a change in the weather with either a sustained cooler period or even better, rain, prune damaged growth. As you prune, cut to just above a node, the point on a stem from where new growth will occur.

Clumping plants that grow from a rhizome, crown or thickened root system in the ground can be cut back hard. New growth will appear from the base of the plant.

2. On-going protection:
Whether you prune now or later, it is vital to protect plants from future heat damage. Cover plants, especially those with new growth, using shadecloth, towels, sheets or even beach umbrellas provided there’s no wind to dislodge them.

If the plant is being damaged by reflective heat, lay or hang cardboard, blinds or shadecloth across the surface that’s reflecting the heat.
If plants have produced new growth that can be damaged, it can be protected with an anti-transpirant spray that is sold in most hardware stores and garden centers.

Call Scenic Lawns and Landscaping, Inc. at 410-672-3200 for more tips and a free estimate too.


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