Protect Your Plants from Heat Stress

How crazy was the weather this spring?

It was certainly far from typical and it’s impossible to predict what’s coming up. Let’s take a look at what this weather has done to our plants, and what to look for moving forward. 

How The Weather Has Affected Our Plants

This spring has been particularly cool and wet, especially compared to last year when we experienced one hundred-degree weather in the middle of May with almost no precipitation. While this spring has had significantly more rain we are still experiencing a drought so we recommend reviewing local watering guides

Because of the cooler spring weather, many plants took longer than normal to break dormancy. . For example, maple trees usually are fully leafed around mid-April but this year didn’t break dormancy until nearly the second week of May. 

Redbuds also had a rough go of this spring. Hard freezes arrived during its two major growth times, killing the flower buds and delaying the leaf buds from opening in their normal time frame

Additionally, it wasn’t warm enough for many Perennials to wake up and bloom when they normally would, so you still may not be seeing some of your favorites in the garden. The good news is,  that doesn’t mean that they’re dead. It just means patience is key so give things a bit more time to catch up. 

Many people use Mother’s Day as the season marker for planting.   However, this year we had a hard frost after that target date. You might have experienced damage in your veggie gardens, even if they were covered.  This will result in a shorter crop season, but you will still likely get a decent harvest

Tomatoes typically have a 10-12 week harvest season. This year it will most likely be closer to 6-8 weeks, especially if we get frost in September. 

June is a Perennial Month.  

Though it is almost at an end, June is known as Perennial Month.  While temps are starting to warm up for summer, it is still a great time to add perennials to the garden to enjoy the summer blooms and feed the pollinators. As perennials all have different bloom times, it’s a great idea to add throughout the season so you can have a variety of colors throughout the year.  

Keep An Eye Out for Heat Stress

With hot temperatures becoming more regular, it’s important to keep an eye on your plants for signs of heat stress. The shock of the temperature swing from the cooler spring can be too much for your plants. Signs of heat stress include: 

  • Wilting leaves
  • Leaf burn
  • Overly dry soil
  • Plants that stop flowering prematurely

The best cure is always prevention. When possible, water your plants prior to 10 am, provide permanent shade, and mulch your plant beds and trees to keep the roots cooler. 

Morning watering is preferred so your plants don’t lose water to evaporation in the afternoon sun. Evening watering makes your plant more susceptible to fungus and pests overnight. 

It’s also worth looking into growing water-wise plants that are able to withstand extreme temperatures. 

Take a look at 7 Waterwise summer blooms for your garden here

What can you do if your plant has already experienced heat stress? It is possible for many plants to recover. 

  • Bring the plant inside (if in a container)
  • Deep soak the roots early in the morning
  • Provide shade for the plant

Heat stress can happen to plants in temperatures starting at 85℉ so keep an eye on your thermometers. 

For more information about how the strange spring weather will affect this year’s growing season, make sure to join the Glover Nursery Facebook group and watch this live with Erica

If you have any questions about how your plants have been reacting to the weather, please feel free to reach out to the experts at our Utah garden centre as well!

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  • Michael

    I planted seeds of Pretty in Purple Peppers, 2 weeks ago, how long does it take for plants to break thru?

    • A
      Regan Glover

      The time varies quite a bit, but peppers should sprout within about 2 weeks. It may take a bit longer, but if you don’t see any sprouts within 3 weeks it could be the seeds weren’t warm enough or moist enough, those are usually the two conditions that need to be adjusted for best sprouting conditions. That being said, they may also be in need of more sunlight. It’s hard to say for sure without knowing the current conditions. We do have a blog post on seeding techniques, that info might be helpful if they still haven’t sprouted by now.

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