Plants and High temperatures

woodswalker88(6)July 10, 2012

Well as everyone knows there has been a huge HEAT WAVE. Here in southeast PA we had rain on June 28th so drought is not the problem...it is the 100 degree temp. Leaves are starting to curl up & turn brown & wilt.

Does this mean the plant is just going 'dormant', adapting to the heat, hunkering down... or is the plant going to die? How do I tell the difference? (I know when a plant is completely dead of course.) I have perennials and shrubs. If the tops curl up & turn brown, will the roots survive and will they come back next year? I only started gardening in april of 2011. There is a lot I don't know yet. If I see the plant starting to fade, should I give up & save the water for a plant that has a chance?

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lisanti07028(z6NJ)

Some plants do go dormant in such situations, but in my experience, it's hard to say when you're looking at them which one will come back and which won't.

If you know that some of yours go dormant anyway - oriental poppies, bleeding hearts - let them go. Plants that are well-established, having been in the ground where they are for at least a couple of years, will probably be ok. I only water daylilies and siberian iris if they're newly planted, as they're tough. If you've got annuals, it's probably not worth saving them unless you want the seeds.

I would concentrate on your woody plants, especially any newly-planted trees, as they don't bounce back from drought as easily. Water them deeply all around the root area, and check them after a couple of days by sticking your finger in the ground and seeing if it's dry down a couple of inches.

Mulch will help preserve the moisture in the ground, which helps.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 10:17PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

woodswalker, what kind of plants are you talking about specifically? We've been 'enjoying' 100 plus temperatures in the middle of drought like conditions, but we haven't had any annuals, perennials, shrubs, or trees brown out. We don't have an irrigation system, but have been doing some conservative watering.

So, I can't help but wonder what's going on with your plants?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 11:42AM
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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

What kind of soil are you on? And what's under it? If you have a thin soil over the top of, say, old glacial outwash, then there might not be a lot of available groundwater to start with.

Agree with lisanti - look after your shrubs and trees if you've recently (less than two years ago) planted them.

It's a chore, for sure, but you can capture the rinse water from your washing machine and bucket it out to the most precious (or hideously expensive) plants. A bucket at a time, slowly poured on. You can even build up a circle of dirt around the plant to form a saucer so the water doesn't run off.

NOTE: do NOT feed plants under stress from drought. The salts in the feed can cause burning because there won't be enough water in the plant to dilute it. If you did apply feed before the dry set in - definitely add water round those plants to help them flush out the high concentrations of chemical salts. That could be causing the burning you're seeing.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 3:41AM
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