After cold springs like the one we have had in 2013, it would not be unusual for small trees planted this year or last year, as well as some plants in the garden, to suffer a heat stroke or thirst this summer that will wither them mercilessly. The solutions are simple if you know how to act.
HELP YOUR PLANTS TO OVERCOME HEAT STROKE IN SUMMER
Plants have an uncanny ability to adapt to external changes of various kinds. Temperatures, light, humidity, wind, soil salinity, pH… Within all of these, temperature is a variable that, as we all know, largely determines the development of the plant. Within this adaptability of plant cells there are always limits that the plant may not support . The frosts are the most common example, although in the summer, we should not neglect the heatstroke. There is no worse feeling than having successfully overcome a harsh winter you and your plants and now are dying from a sudden heat stroke in July.
ADAPTATION CAPACITY OF PLANT CELLS
When talking about the adaptation or acclimatization of species to a place that is not the usual place for the species, one must always take into account the progression with which the conditions vary. Cells have the ability to adjust to new conditions as long as they are gradual. In the case of temperature, which is the one that concerns us today, thermal shocks are usually fatal in plants and trees, especially in young specimens.
THE TWO SIDES OF THE PERSPIRATION OF THE PLANT
Plant transpiration is a complex process influenced by numerous factors such as ambient humidity, temperature, wind … This process is vital for the plant to perform such basic functions as the transport of water and nutrients . Perspiration regulates these transport processes.
Another function is to cool the plant . The stomata have the ability to open and close allowing the regulation of the transpiration of the plant. With hot environments and especially with the combination of high temperature and wind , the stomata open and the transpiration of the plant will be so fast that we will not notice it. Water dissipates excess heat since for each gram of water transpired by the plant, 600 calories are dissipated (Urbano, 2001).
The negative part of this process is that the water available by the plant decreases so much that if we are not attentive, a temporary (reversible) wilt will occur . If the environmental conditions do not change the wilting becomes permanent condemning the plant inexorably.
A colder spring than usual conditions the plants in such a way that an excessive increase in temperature on specific days of the summer causes that dreaded heat stroke that will permanently wither the plant without remedy. As July approaches, it does not hurt to take into account these tips for both the garden and the orchard.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO ALLEVIATE THE EFFECTS OF HEAT STROKE
VAPORIZED IRRIGATIONS TO THE LEAVES
It is one of the methods most used to calm the suffocation of plants and trees during a heat stroke. This complements the high transpiration suffered by the plant by cooling the leaf surface. A hose with an adjustable nozzle will be enough to properly disperse the water droplets.
- Something very common: Many times there is a tendency to “humanize” plants. In the central hours of the day, in full sun, we remember how bad the plants must be having and we are going to refresh them. The small drops of water act as small magnifying glasses and can burn the leaves . Do the waterings avoiding full sun and cool the leaves when there is ambient heat, but without sun exposure.
PROTECTIONS TO FILTER THE LIGHT
In some cases, some area of the garden or orchard can be protected with a tarp (a tree is obviously not able to cover it) that filters the light and exposes the plant to less radiation, thus relieving perspiration. It is recommended to use during the day and remove these protections in the afternoon and night.
WATER RETENTION AT THE BASE OF THE PLANT OR TREE
As we do with indoor plants by placing a bed of wet pebbles to increase humidity around the plant, something similar can be done in the plants and young trees of the garden. A thick and wet bed of organic material (padding type) will cause an evaporation of water in the plant environment , compensating for the effect of excessive heat.