We’ll be the first to admit that most Washingtonians west of the mountains don’t have a lot of experience in dealing with hot weather. Here are a few common misconceptions about gardening during those rare hot summer days that might help both your plants and your thumb stay green!
Myth: A little water every day is best during hot weather.
Truth: While it might seem better to give plants a small drink every day during hot weather, shallow waterings encourage roots to grow close to the surface of the soil and make plants much more prone to drying out.
Myth: A lot of water all at once ensures a deep watering.
Truth: Actually, no. It’s important to find a good middle ground. Flooding a large amount of water onto a plant will cause unnecessary runoff, as much of the water can’t be instantaneously absorbed. It’s best to moisten the soil first, wait for it to absorb, and then slowly apply more water.
Myth: Watering your plants when it’s sunny and hot acts as a magnifying glass and burns leaves.
Truth: This idea makes sense, but if it’s really that hot, any water will evaporate long before it has the chance to scorch leaves. True causes of withered leaves include fertilizer burn, insects/disease, wind, frost, and too much or too little water.
Myth: Overhead watering is bad for plants.
Truth: Though certain types of plants might suffer rot from having water pool in crevices for long periods, most plants can benefit from overhead waterings in a number of situations. During dry and windy weather, a layer of dust on leaves can interfere with photosynthesis, and washing it off can improve your plants’ efficiency. Pests like aphids and spider mites can be rinsed off with a stream of water. And lastly, heat stressed plants might find a temporary relief from a nice shower on hot days. However, direct watering around the base of plants is definitely more water-efficient, as it minimizes water lost to evaporation.