If there’s one thing summer is sure to bring to lower Alabama, it’s heat. Our area routinely has some of the hottest summer temps in the country, creating a sweltering season that’s hard on all living things - especially your landscape. Hot weather can be brutal on your plants. Like humans, they need extra care to ensure they stay hydrated and healthy during periods of extreme heat. Unfortunately, those high temperatures also make it hard to get excited about hours of heavy yard work. The good news, a few easy steps can help your plants keep their cool under the sun’s scorching rays. As temperatures rise, follow these four easy tips to protect your landscape from the heat. MOW A LITTLE LONGER During the summer, avoid the temptation to cut your grass as short as possible. While this may extend the time between mows, taller grass will cast longer shadows that help your soil retain moisture and protect it from the sun. During periods of high heat, raise your mower blades to keep your grass between three and six inches tall. You can also leave the clippings on the lawn for a bit of natural mulch. WATER THE RIGHT WAY Like humans, plants need proper hydration to survive the summer heat. However, it’s not as easy as giving your landscape a good soak every time you get the chance. When it comes to heat and hydration, you need to water the right way, at the right time. Water evaporates very quickly during periods of high heat, especially at the peak of the day. To help your lawn and plants retain moisture, aim to water them during the early morning. This cuts down on the amount of water lost to wind and evaporation and allows the roots to absorb the most moisture before the highest heat of the day. There are many ways to water your plants, but some are more beneficial than others. When temperatures are high, it’s best to apply water directly to the soil rather than using an overhead sprinkler. This is because less water is lost to evaporation, and foliage stays dry, minimizing diseases. This method can be done with a drip irrigation system or by using a soaker hose. APPLY MULCH Mulch is beneficial all year long, but it is especially good at protecting plants from the summer heat. A layer of mulch insulates the soil, helping to reduce evaporation and protecting the delicate plant roots from extreme heat. It will also help control weeds that compete against your plants for moisture and nutrients. For best results, apply a layer of light-colored organic mulch to your beds and around plants and shrubs. Two to Three inches should suffice - anymore and you risk suffocating shallow plant roots. Avoid piling mulch around the base of trees, which can lead to rot and disease. PROVIDE SHADE Provide shade to protect your plants from the stress of the overhead sun. You don’t have to get fancy - a big beach umbrella, old bedsheets, or even propped-up cardboard should suffice. You can also use shade cloth, an airy material at your local home and garden store that provides temporary protection from the sun to garden plants. The key is to choose a shade that blocks the sun without hindering natural airflow. A lush landscape can help you create the coolest home on the block - if you can help it handle the heat. If you prefer to skip the summer strain, let the professionals at Krob Landscape handle the work for you. Our landscape maintenance plans cover everything you need to enjoy a stress-free landscape all year long. Contact us today!