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Caring for plants in brutal heat

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080422 caring for plants

With the drought and record high temperatures in East Texas, caring for plants and ensuring they stay healthy takes special attention. Additional work is involved during extreme heat and drought.

Retired forester Joe Pase spoke recently at the Texas AgriLife Extension Center in Lufkin with tips to help home gardeners.

“The most important thing is to try and keep water on them,” Pase said, “and if you have large trees and lots of smaller plants, you can sometimes see them wilting. They really need water.” Pase noted that it is sometimes hard to water large trees and multiple plants adequately.

During a drought, it’s almost impossible to overwater.

Catherine Evans, who works at Bryan’s Farm and Nursery and at the Angelina County Farmers Market, had some tips on watering misconceptions for container plants. “Water in the morning and water deep. Don’t just do it shallow on top. A lot of people think that because they water, and they see the water seep out immediately [from the bottom of the container] that that’s enough. That just means that they’re overly dry.” Evans recommends watering until the containers are fully saturated.

And it’s common to think that the sun is good for your plants, especially those that are labeled for “full sun.” But with the temperatures in triple digits, it can be too much for even the sun-loving varieties.

“The sun is really brutal,” said Pase,” and when we have several cloud-free days or very few clouds, it is very stressful for plants.”
If possible, relocate potted plants to shaded areas during the blistering summer heat.

During drought-like weather, keeping your grass green and trees watered can often mean daily watering. The same goes for your potted plants.

Increase your watering time by about 50%. And remember, it’s not too late to mulch your potted plants and flower beds, helping them to retain moisture.

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