70705thumbThis does not seem like such a mild climate when it is difficult to distinguish between the time and the temperature on a local bank clock tower. You know; when punctuation is the only difference between four minutes past one, and one hundred four degrees. Fortunately, like mild frost in winter, hot weather does not happen too often, which is why this climate really is milder than most.

Most of us know what to do for the garden when the weather gets warmer. Obviously, many plants want more water. What we do not often consider is that there a few things that we should ‘not’ do. Unlike us, the plants in the garden can not find shade when the weather gets warm. Those that are exposed find creative ways to provide their own shade. We really do not want to mess with that.

By this time of year, outer foliage of exposed plants is mature enough to tolerate heat. Only foliage of plants that prefer to be partly shaded is likely to be damaged. However, inner foliage of even the toughest plants is not as resilient as outer foliage is. Simply shearing a hedge exposes inner foliage that can be scorched by overexposure. Sunlight enhances the effects of heat and aridity.

If possible, it is best to delay such pruning and shearing until after unusually hot weather. No one wants to be out working in the garden on a hot day anyway. More typical seasonable weather may not seem to be much cooler, but a few degrees can be a big difference to plants. Once exposed, inner foliage should adapt, and hopefully be resilient to heat before the weather gets hot again.

While young and thin, formerly shaded bark that suddenly becomes exposed can be damaged by sun scald. (Deciduous trees do not get scalded while defoliated in winter because the intensity of sunlight is diminished at that time of year.) Sun scald of bark is much more serious than foliar scorch because it kills bark, leaving open wounds on main limbs and trunks. Decay within these wounds compromises structural integrity, and can ruin otherwise healthy trees.

Although rare, spontaneous limb failure can occur in some trees during warm weather, particularly if humidity increases and breezes remain minimal. It sounds silly, but warmth accelerates vascular activity, possibly until foliage becomes too heavy for the limbs that support it. If limbs break, they can cause major disfigurement, and detrimentally expose bark of inner limbs and trunks.

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7 thoughts on “Things Heat Up In Summer

    1. The aridity makes it less of a bother for us, but makes it more difficult for foliage. That is one of the few reasons that I dislike Japanese maples. The heat is not a bother for them, but they roast without humidity.

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  1. After tomorrow (Friday), the forecast shows only one day out of the next two weeks that will be less than 102. That day will be a mere 100. We are even seeing some 105-106 being possible. Ah, lovely days!

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    1. Yuck. I have been watching the weather in Trona, where the weather may exceed a 100 daily throughout summer, but that is Trona, where such weather is expected.

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  2. It was only a year or two ago that I learned even cacti can be sun-sensitive. I read that if you move one from one spot to another, or transplant one, you should be careful to orient it toward the sun in the same way. If a certain side’s been facing west, it should face west in the new location. It made sense once I thought about it.

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    1. Some are VERY sensitive. Not all are from desert regions. Some are from more forested regions, and a few are from tropical jungles. Epipyllums are epiphytic cacti that grow in the partial shade of upper canopies. Most of the popular ones really are from desert or chaparral regions, but in landscaped gardens, they are not exposed to the sort of hot glare that they would experience in the wild.

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