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Save Your Plants from Summer Heat

It’s summertime in Chicagoland, and amidst the food, festivals, and fun – there is still one sneaky midwest truth. The summer heat here can be grueling! With temperatures regularly in the high 90s, it’s important to remember to protect those less able to escape the sun. That’s right, this one’s for our plants.

Not every plant was built to withstand a high temp/high exposure climate. Make sure your outdoor plants are set up for success by planting florals that work well in Chicagoland. Then, check out our tips and tricks to keep your garden from turning into a yawn-den this summer.

Don’t forget to water regularly

We all have busy schedules, and part of the appeal of outdoor plants is that mother nature takes care of them, right? Well, in the summer it’s important to put a little extra care into their routine as well.

Get to know your plants, how often they should be watered, and the signs of their soil. Are there shriveled leaves, limp stems, dropping petals, or any discoloration? Your soil might be too dry. The Chicago Botanic Garden advises watering deeply, not daily, and even has tricks to measure how much water your plants are getting. The general rule of thumb is one inch of water per week. If temperatures hit the 90s, you should double that, and feel free to add a little extra love if the heat wave is ongoing.

So mulch to do, so little time!

Maybe monitoring the soil isn’t your strong suit, or you just don’t have the time. Mulch can be a great life hack to protect your plants from the summer heat.

Finely shredded, hard-bark mulch and wood chips soak up water when it rains and then hold it, so in high heat, the moisture will pass through and actually start to soak the soil underneath – where your plant roots are residing.

Fun fact – mulch is also a great insulator for your soil and roots when winter rolls around (as it seems to do every year). The insulating factor helps reduce stress on plants and prevents frost heaving. It even helps prevent weeds from sprouting, if you find yourself stressing over those too.

Create your own shade

Maybe no matter how on top of watering you are, your plants just aren’t getting enough shade to live their best lives. Not every plant was built for full sun, it happens! Luckily, adding a shade cloth is an inexpensive and easy way to minimize the amount of heat taken from direct sunlight, while still allowing your plants to photosynthesize.

The material, density, and color can all affect how your plants grow, so be sure to do a little research into what will work best for your garden. For example, a density percentage of 40-50% is best for flowering plants like azaleas and camellias. But a 70-90% density percentage is recommended for heavier-duty plants like ferns and palms.

You can find shade cloths locally at most of your big home garden stores, like Home Depot, or Amazon. It’s pretty easy to install –  just drive in the stakes so they’re surrounding your garden or you can plant pots and drape the shade cloth over it. This still allows the plants to get all the sun’s nutrients and water.

Ready to beat the heat?

Your plants are ready for a little TLC this summer. With these easy and affordable tricks, you’ll be able to keep your garden thriving, no matter what Chicagoland throws its way.

Thinking about taking this green thumb to a greenhouse? When you’re ready to upgrade, Baird & Warner is here to help with all of your real estate needs.