Heatwave conditions where I live

splinter1804January 19, 2013

Hi everyone - I just thought I'd share with you all, my experiences of our two abnormally hot days during the past two weeks .

Two weeks ago (Thur 10th) we experienced the hottest day ever recorded in the area where I live. It was 47 degrees C (116.6 degrees F) in the back yard under shade cloth at the hottest time of the day which was 1.00 pm D.S.T. (Daylight Saving Time) so it was really only 12.00 noon Eastern Standard Time. The hot weather had been forecast but the forecast top temp. was 39 degrees C, much less than we experienced.

Fortunately I had sufficient warning to prepare and I gave everything a good deep watering in the early morning. I damped down the floors of the shade house and under the benches in preparation for what was to come. I had extra pieces of shade cloth strung up all around the place to add protection to plants that were in the garden and was satisfied I had done all I could to combat the heat.

For the past six months I had also begun a programme of spraying everything with Seasol every two weeks as this was also supposed to help with heat stress and help plants withstand an extra 4 degrees of heat. (I had used this previously with good results in 2006 following a 45 degree C heatwave one New Years Day)

Anyway, the temperature gradually rose but wasn't too bad as there was still a slight north east breeze blowing off the sea two streets away, but then the breeze swung around to the west and became a hot westerly which quickly elevated the temperature. It was so hot it stung the corners of my eyes and nostrils if I ventured out in the yard to check how things were going. The temperature did come down a bit as the hot wind dropped but it wasn't until later in the night that a cool southerly wind came through and cooled everything down.

Two weeks after it had past, the only apparent damage was a couple of plants that I couldn't provide adequate protection for so I considered myself very lucky and was happy with the results of the precautions I had taken. Someone said it had been "The Hundred Year Heatwave" and my answer was, "at least I won't be around for the next one"! How wrong I was.

Three days ago (Fri 18th) the forecast was again for a hotter than normal day and I repeated all of the protective preparations once again but this time it was much hotter than anyone was expecting with about one hour of unbearable hot west wind in the middle of the day. As before and at the same time and location, I again checked the temperature and this time it was right to the top of the thermometer and off the scale at at 50+ degrees C (121+ degrees F). When it eventually did cool down later in the afternoon, some of the liquid in the thermometer stayed right at the top while only some moved back lower down the tube giving the appearance of a "dotted red line" in the thermometer. I've tried shaking the fluid back down but to no avail so the thermometer is "stuffed" and I'll just keep it as a reminder of what Mother Nature can do.

Suffice to say that all of the plants in the front garden were "cooked" as they had no protection as they were only seedling "culls" anyway and I hadn't worried about them as I was too busy protecting my better plants in the back yard.

It seems the "Hundred Year Heatwave" just couldn't wait for another hundred years to visit us and has now created a new record for our area as the hottest day ever since records were first kept. The official temperature recorded at the weather station was 45.8 degrees C albeit not as hot as it was under my shade cloth.

At this stage there is not a lot of visible damage to the brom's, but given that the plants would have already been under stress from the previous hot day I imagine a lot of damage will become apparent during the next couple of weeks and I'm just dreading what I'll be confronted with.

I'll just finish with a few pic's to show the damage so far.

Not quite enough protection for this Vr Phillipo-cobergii

Some Neo. seedling culls in the front garden

My "stuffed" thermometer.

All the best, Nev.

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Hey Nev
We are having a winter heatwave here but its very nice.
Lots of blooms starting early.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 10:43AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Sounds like your part of Australia is becoming more like Saudi Arabia! I have lived in that kind of heat when I was working in Riyadh, but I can't imagine what that would be like in a place where you don't expect such extremes of heat. I've had the same sorts of sun/heat damage from highs only up to 100F here, and the hottest it has ever gotten here by the San Francisco Bay is about 104F. Hope you don't get repeats of these extremes. Australian weather just seems like it is going crazy this year...

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:21PM
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Hi Nev, you must live near me (Silverdale, Sydney) because we had the same temperatures too and got plenty of burns to the garden broms. The neo mini's have never burnt before, but they got cooked, which is a shame because they were in a huge clump. The best survivor in full sun was the Aechmea blanchetiana - yellow form, didn't even worry it. A real tough one for any garden.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:02AM
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Hi everyone,

Conifer-nut - I live just a little south of Wollongong at a place called Shellharbour Village, so yes we aren't too far from each other, almost neighbours in fact.

It's a little over a month now since the two heatwave days and the damage I was expecting, thankfully didn't eventuate. I have had remarkable plant recovery rates which I put down to using Seasol. (the "Tonic" not the fertiliser).

I previously had a good result from using it after the 2006 New Year's Day heatwave and have used it monthly ever since and this time the results have been even more remarkable with the only losses being from two plants in a completely unprotected garden (pictured above) which gets sun from 1000 until 1500, and all except two of those are even putting up new pups. There are only two of those plants which I think I've lost from my whole collection, but that's pretty good out of a couple of thousand plants wouldn't you say?

I can't sing the praises of Seasol highly enough, I think it's a marvelous product and would recommend it to anyone.

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 7:42AM
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Hi Nev, yes I remember we had another 50 Celsius (122F) day, I thought it was about 4 years ago, but time goes quickly.
I also use a seaweed tonic on my garden but I have only been using it in spring/summer, not all year round. It keeps my broms and conifers going through the hot days as well. I agree it's a very good product.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 4:46PM
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Hi Conifer -nut,

I use Seasol all through the year as it helps with protection against the cold as well, and since I've been using it, cold damage on my brom's has been minimal.

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 1:19PM
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