90626thumbDoes the heat seem to have come on suddenly this year? There was all that rain through winter, then a quick but delightful spring, and now it is suddenly over a hundred degrees in some places! What happened?! There is certainly nothing abnormal about such warmth in the middle of June. It just comes as a surprise when it arrives so suddenly after such pleasantly mild spring weather.

At least warm weather here is not as dreadful as it is in other climates. It cools down a bit overnight. Humidity is typically (although not always) low. There is typically at least a bit of breeze by late afternoon, just after the worst of the warmth. We need not contend with the sort of dankly humid heat, that lasts all day and into the night without even a slight breeze, that so much of America gets.

Of course, that is no consolation now. By our standards, it is hot. Gardening is no fun, and some of it gets neglected. We become more aware of where shade trees should have been planted. We might also notice wilted or pallid plants that are not getting enough water. Pruning that was delayed while new spring growth matured may need to be delayed a bit longer, until the weather cools.

Unfortunately, the minimal humidity and occasional breezes that make the weather more comfortable for us make it more uncomfortable for the plants in the garden. Plants can realistically tolerate more heat than we can, but prefer it to be in conjunction with humidity. Otherwise, they can lose too much moisture to evapotransipiration (evaporation from foliar surfaces), and wilt or desiccate.

Automated irrigation obviously needs to be adjusted accordingly. Potted plants need more of an increase than those in the ground. Those that are overgrown, in hanging pots, or exposed to the typical evening breezes will be the most consumptive. It is not always easy to know how much they need, but one can be certain that if they are wilting, they need more than they have been getting.

Pots exposed to sunlight can get uncomfortably warm. If cascading or bushy growth does not shade the south sides, smaller potted plants can.

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16 thoughts on “Summer Turns Up The Heat

  1. It hasn’t been too bad here, though we’re still getting plenty of rain. I know I shouldn’t wish it away, but the mosquitoes are awful and my garden is happier if it’s just a bit dryer. Oh well, everyone complains about the weather and no one will do anything about it. 🙂

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  2. The heat is still coming on in our house occasionally and we’re still having fires in the woodstove some evenings! It is about 70 outside today, though. I don’t think most of the plants I grow here in New Hampshire could take heat above 100 (or even above 90) for long, especially without humidity.

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  3. That was a fun little 2-day heat wave! I was at Vandenberg AFB on Tuesday — it’w ALWAYS cool and windy there, but on Tuesday the flags were limp and the temp was 94 degrees! It cooled down a little on Wednesday, and by Thursday, it was in the 70’s!

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    1. It was sort of fun and summery, but I am pleased that I was working inside where it was cool. By the time I was working out in the landscapes on Wednesday, it was pleasantly cooler.

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    1. Yes, it can be nice. However, I have never experienced the humid heat that lasts all night and for several days like they get in most other regions. I don’t think I would like so much warmth if it were like that.

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