How to Know When It Is Time to Fertilize Your Garden Beds

If you're planning on fertilizing your lawn, gardens and food crops on the garden beds during hot weather, don't do it. The heat will promote plant growth and if not watered regularly, can cause damage or death to ornamental plants and fruits. In general, the best time to fertilize is when the temperature is below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why is fertilizing in hot summer a bad idea

When temperatures soar, your plant may suddenly lose its comfort zone. At that time, heat stress may develop in the form of withered, curled or charred leaves. You may think that a little fertilizer will cheer them up, but over fertilization will lead to too much salt near the roots of plants, which will damage them and limit the upward flow of water. Salt also affects plant tissue, leading to dead leaves or brown edges.

raised garden beds

Symptoms of over fertilization include:

Broad leaved plants wither and grow slowly

The brown tip of the entire conifer

A brown or white shell on the top of soil or on the side of a container plant. Try flushing the container with plenty of water to remove the salt.

Brown or dead grass patches on the lawn, over compensated by the spreader

You can identify when plants overfertilize due to consistent damage patterns in plants, while disease or insect damage is irregular.

Heat can also damage vegetables. It causes premature flowering, especially in cucumbers, melons, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, and beans. Cool seasonal vegetables, such as broccoli, beat when they get hot. Annual plants in the cool season, such as the pansy, usually do not survive when temperatures soar. Some perennial plants, such as bleeding hearts, protect themselves by sleeping when summer comes.

If the lawn is dormant due to high temperature and drought, you certainly do not want to fertilize it. If you fertilize in spring, you may not need to fertilize again until autumn. It is usually too hot to fertilize the lawn from mid summer to late summer.

Fertilization in summer is best done with light hands or when the plant shows signs of low fertility (such as lighter color than usual). Then make sure to water the plants again before and after fertilization. If granular fertilizer is used, it should not touch the leaves. Do not apply fertilizer if plants are stressed by heat or drought.

raised garden beds

How to protect your plants

Covering is one of the best things you can do for ornamental plants and food in summer. It can stabilize soil temperature, maintain water, and natural mulch will decompose and enrich soil.

If the heat causes damage to your plants, if there is no available sunshade, you can erect a sunshade to provide some afternoon shade. Row covers will help to screen vegetables.

Water the plants in the morning or evening to get the most water to the root and reduce the water lost by evaporation. Soak hose or drip irrigation works best. If possible, avoid overhead irrigation and try not to wet the leaves, which may lead to fungal disease.