Dealing With Heat Stress: How To Protect Vegetables In Hot Weather

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By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener

In many parts of the country, gardeners have considerable anxiety when summer temperatures rise, especially when they rise in combination with low rainfall amounts. While some vegetables suffer more than others, all feel some degree of stress with rising temperatures. Dealing with heat stress can be frustrating for gardeners, so it’s important to find ways for protecting plants in scorching temps. Keep reading to learn more about how to protect vegetables in hot weather.

Continued exposure to high temperatures can cause leaf scorch, leaf drop and even leaf sunburn. In addition, high temperatures interfere with photosynthesis and can cause a buildup of toxins in plants. Plants that are stressed because of the heat may develop misshapen or bitter fruit. Gardeners need to know how to protect vegetables in hot weather in order to avoid irreversible damage.

Protecting Plants in Scorching Temps


One of the most popular ways of protecting plants in the summer heat is by using a shade cloth for gardens. A simple garden shade cloth can be strung between supports or a more elaborate structure can be constructed in areas that are prone to oppressive heat.

Trellises and pergolas can also help create shade to protect plants during the hottest time of the day.

In addition, providing plenty of water during times of high heat is useful in dealing with heat stress. It is best to use a drip irrigation system and check this regularly to be sure that all plants are being fed an adequate supply of water. A misting system is also useful and helps reduce plant tissue temperature. Keeping plants well hydrated gives them the ammunition that they need to fight off the stress caused by scorching temperatures.

You should provide mulch around plants to help with moisture retention as well when protecting plants in scorching temps.

Healthy Plants Do Best When Dealing with Heat Stress

One of the best ways to protect your plants from extremely high temperatures is to be sure that you provide all of the nutrients necessary for them to be healthy. Rich organic soil, organic fertilizer, plenty of water and lots of TLC will keep your veggie garden ready to stand when the high temperatures hit.

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