Searing temperatures can catch you by surprise, especially after cooler days or rainy seasons.
While a heat wave can expectedly cause struggling plants to wilt, it can even set back well-established plants and landscape shrubs.
Mother Nature’s hot flashes may be out of your control, but you can help tackle the rising temperatures by recognizing heat stress symptoms and learning how to treat heat-stressed trees.
Let’s look at some things you can do immediately to better handle unexpected warm spells, so your plants and trees survive the heat wave.
Most plants grow best in temperatures ranging from 59 degrees to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Plant growth tends to slow when temperatures rise over 90 degrees Fahrenheit and lingers for longer periods. That’s when you might begin to see heat stress symptoms. These symptoms can amplify when temperatures are over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The National Weather Service describes a heat wave as a period of abnormally hot weather generally lasting for several days. For plants, an important component of heat waves is that they usually accompany drought. The combination of heat and a lack of water results in the symptoms we can observe in the landscape.
You can think of it as similar to heat stroke in people.
Here are some of the symptoms you're looking for: If any of the mentioned symptoms were occurring before the heat wave, something else may be causing it. You should contact your local arborist for a consultation.
Extreme heat can impact many functions of a tree.
Looking at the leaves, photosynthesis is reduced, leaves may fall off, and the growth rate of the remaining leaves decreases.
Concerning the whole tree, heat stress can slow overall growth.
While some tree species are more tolerant than others to heat stress,. prolonged heat exposure can certainly exacerbate existing issues.
At high temperatures and without sufficient water, trees eventually reach a point where they can’t take up enough water from the soil to support the whole tree canopy. As temperatures escalate and available water becomes limited, the tree closes stomates on the leaves which results in reduced photosynthesis and slowed growth,
This can weaken the tree and lead to pest, disease infestation, and even tree mortality.
You might be wondering how to reduce heat stress in plants as you notice some of these heat stress symptoms.
Follow these tips when you see symptoms of heat stress: