Weather forecasts are predicting mid to high 90’s for about 3 days this week followed by a drop back to 80’s or lower. Extreme swings in temperature can wreak havoc on a spring garden. Here’s what could happen and how to prevent it.
**Please note this post is specifically for California’s Central Valley. While concepts apply to other regions, please consult your local nursery for advice.**
1. Poorly watered plants will burn – lawns, trees, shrubs, etc. that are not watered properly will show signs of stress with the first few heat waves of the season. For watering tips, see another post, here. It is also important to make sure the sprinklers and or drip systems you have are working properly. For more on this subject see our WaterWise Guide You can also mulch, preferably with a natural product like Shredded Cedar, to keep the soil cool and moist. Mulches need to be applied 3-4″ thick and will need to be refreshed once per year.
2. Japanese Maples will stress – as Paul Jones recommended in the Japanese Maples Workshop that we hosted, when the temperature is going to spike, water ahead. The night before turn on the soaker hose, drip system or a hose on a slow trickle to thoroughly saturate the soil. This will result in less stress, which means less burn, for the tree.
3. Insect infestation – swings in temperature from mild to hot also result in insect populations to explode. You will probably see an increase in aphids and whitefly as they respond to the warmer temperatures and feed on the tender leaves of your plants. We do not recommend spraying to prevent but monitor everyday and if you aren’t comfortable with the number of insects found then spray. We recommend Monterey Take Down for effective and natural control of aphids, whitefly and more.