Knowledge from Olle Garden Bed: Why Is Fertilizing a Hot Summer a Bad Idea

On a scorching summer day, you may ask yourself, "Is it okay to fertilize plants on hot days?" The answer is usually no. If lawns, ornamental plants, or fruits and vegetables are subjected to drought and/or high temperature stress, the disadvantages of summer fertilization outweigh the benefits. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

Why is fertilizing a hot summer a bad idea

When the temperature soars, your plants may suddenly lose their comfort zone. At that time, heat stress may develop in the form of withered, curled, or burnt leaves. You may think that a small amount of fertilizer will restore their vitality, but excessive fertilization can lead to excessive salt near the roots of plants, which may damage them and limit the upward flow of water. Salt can also affect plant tissue, causing leaves to wither or brown edges.

Symptoms of excessive fertilization include:

Withering and slow growth of broad-leaved plants

The brown needle tips of the entire coniferous tree

The brown or white crust on the top of the soil or on the side of potted plants. Try rinsing the container with a large amount of water to remove salt.

Brown or dead grass patches on the lawn, excessive compensation from lifting equipment

You can identify when plants are overfertilized through consistent damage patterns in plants, while damage from diseases or insects is irregular.

Heat can also cause damage to vegetables. It can lead to premature flowering and falling flowers, especially cucumbers, melons, tomatoes, chili peppers, pumpkins, and legumes. Cold season vegetables, such as broccoli, sprout when they get hot. Annual plants in the cool season, such as the three colored violet, are usually unable to survive during temperature surges. Some perennial plants, such as bleeding hearts, protect themselves by dormancy when summer arrives.

If the lawn sleeps due to high temperature and drought, you certainly don't want to fertilize it. If you fertilize in spring, you may need to wait until autumn before fertilizing. In the mid to late summer, it is usually too hot to fertilize the lawn.

It is best to fertilize with light hands during summer, or when plants show signs of low fertility (such as lighter colors than usual). Then make sure to water the plants before fertilization, and then water them again. If granular fertilizers are used, they should not come into contact with leaves. If plants are under heat or drought stress, do not fertilize.

How to Protect Your Plants

In summer, covering is one of the best things you can do for ornamental and edible plants. It can stabilize soil temperature, maintain moisture, and natural cover will decompose and fertilize the soil.

If the heat causes damage to your plants, you can erect a sunshade cloth. If not, you can shade in the afternoon. The row cover will help screen vegetables.

Watering plants in the morning or evening to maximize the amount of water available to the roots and reduce the amount of water lost through evaporation. Soaking hoses or drip irrigation works best. Avoid elevated irrigation as much as possible and avoid wetting the leaves as it can lead to fungal diseases.