Tomato plants that were severely droopy following the first day of 113-degree heat are covered to lessen sun's intensity while temperatures are so high.
View from the north side - tomatoes are open to the air.
Apricot tree damage just on some of the outer leaves.
Worst-affected Dwarf Dorsett Golden apple. Even burnt leaves still have a glimmer of green color, though. We'll just have to wait and see if it survives.
Two watering methods - in depression where tomato is planted, and into 5-gallon buckets on either side which allow water to seep into soil a good foot down in the soil. The combination keeps the entire root zone soil profile moist. Note that bottom leaves are dead, but stem and leaves further up the plant are fully green, although the leaves are droopy.
Berms built 2 feet away from fruit tree trunks enable watering of the extended root zone.
Blossom-end rot on green tomatoes. Remove since they'll not develop fully to ripen, so waste energy of the plant.
"Naked Lady" - Amaryllis belladonna - loves the heat.
Yay! New growth on apple tree.
And on mulberry
Russian Sage - Perovskia atriplicifolia - standing tall and fully colored in the heat.
And, of course, sunflowers just keep coming!
After several days of more than 110° heat, some of my garden plants were obviously suffering, with shriveled and bleached foliage. Even though I had watered deeply several days before – as I’d urged you all to do, with my special email -- in anticipation of the forecasted heat, some plants were damaged beyond just a few burned leaves. The plants just couldn’t adapt to the 30-degree increase in one day. Immediate and longer-term help was needed. Here are some guidelines to what I did, and what you can do now and for the rest of the summer.
Leave the damaged foliage on the plants. You don’t really know how much was actually killed, so you don’t want to cut off still-living tissue that can perhaps resprout. Regardless of how it looks. The dead foliage serves as a buffer to protect the only-damaged-but-prospectively-surviving tissue from further damage.
Don’t do any pruning at all for the rest of the summer. The plants have already been severely stressed by the extreme heat, and any pruning will add to more stress, requiring the plant to use even more energy to redirect its growth because of what you’ve pruned. Allow the plants to use all of their remaining energy to grow however they will. You can modify growth later when the plant is back in full health.
Keep plants fully hydrated, both roots and foliage. Roots -- Water deeply 1 to 2 feet deep. Check how deep the water went with a soil probe or water wand (available at most nurseries and big-box stores).
Foliage -- Drench both top and underneath surfaces of foliage, including the “dead” ones. Leaves that are still functioning, even minimally, will absorb the moisture to augment what’s pulled up by the roots (which may also be damaged from the heat). Water when the sun isn’t shining directly on the leaves. Water early in the day so leaves will dry by sunset (so you don’t encourage fungal diseases, which take only 6 hours to develop).
Tomatoes and other vegetables If you didn’t plant them in a 3-inch depression to use as a watering hole, gently pull back soil to form a berm 6 inches out from the stem. Fill 3 times with water to make sure the soil is fully moistened at least a foot deep (Tomato roots can reach 3 feet down, if there’s sufficient water). Bury a 5-gallon container with holes in the bottom (like what plants and trees are sold in from the nursery), leaving the top 4 inches out of the soil. Fill 3 times. The water from the top and the water coming out of the container holes at the bottom will meet and keep the entire root zone moistened.
Fruit trees Gently pull back soil to form a 2”-high berm 2-3 feet out from the trunk. Fill 3 times. Check that the water has gone down at least 18-24”.
Don’t fertilize again for the rest of the summer. Because root systems have been compromised by the heat, forcing them to try to absorb fertilizer will further damage both roots and foliage. Let the plant recuperate and be actively growing before you demand that it go back into high production by applying fertilizer.
If extreme heat is again forecast Cover foliage with shade cloth or cheesecloth or other commercial product like Agribon that will lessen the sun’s intensity but let in air and water.
Future Production of Tomatoes Blossom-End Rot Expect blossom-end-rot on existing fruits, since that tremendous heat literally sucked moisture from that “endpoint” of the fruits. If fruits have blossom-end rot but are almost ripe, let them remain on the plant to perhaps further ripening. But, after a couple of days, you may find that the rot just gets worse, so harvest and eat the portion you can. If fruits with blossom-end rot are tiny and green, remove them since they’ll not be able to grow fully and ripen.
No new blooms for a while Expect no new blooms, or blooms that don’t set fruit, for a couple of weeks. When air temperatures consistently stay below 85-90° for about 10 days, the plant hormones will again stimulate blossoming.