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Archives for June 19, 2017

7 tips to help your garden beat the heat

Heat waves have always been part of the Midwest climate, but scientists say climate change is making them more common. Mulch and thoughtful watering can help your garden beat the heat, said Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Here are some of her tips:

Check for soil moisture. What matters to a plant is how much water is actually in the soil. To check, use a trowel to dig down. If the soil feels dry 3 or 4 inches below the surface, water. Bear in mind that rainfall or the spray from the sprinkler can be blocked or diverted by buildings, roof overhangs, trees, or even the large leaves of some plants such as hostas.

A common rule of thumb is that most plants need the equivalent of 1 inch of rainfall a week, on average. “That’s enough to soak into the soil about 6 inches,” Yiesla said. However, in hot weather, plants may need more.

Water the soil, not the leaves. Plants can only absorb water through their roots. If you’re watering by hand with a hose or watering hand, direct the water at the base of the plant. Soaker hoses, which are laid on the soil surface to slowly seep water, are more efficient than sprinklers, although a sprinkler can cover a wide area.