The summer heat started later this year, but July is finally earning its reputation as the hottest month of the year. If your plants have been thriving as a result of early summer precipitation, a return to hot, dry weather could be a difficult transition.
The best defense is a good offense
The best way to help your plants survive Colorado’s altitude, intense sun, cold winters, and hot summers is to select plants that like to live here.
We’re not in drought right now, but we still need to conserve water and prepare for the next drought. If you are adding or replacing plants this year, look for low-water plants that work best in our conditions.
Right plant, right place
Location of your plants is also important to consider. Any plants that face south or west and get a lot of sun will need more water. With containers, make sure they are in a good potting soil that retains moisture throughout the day.
Don’t worry too much
If your plants are wilting, that doesn’t mean they are dying. Plants will wilt either because they need moisture or because it’s their coping mechanism to conserve moisture during the heat of day. If you look at the same plant at night that was wilted during the day, it may be back to normal. Resist the urge to overwater. To know if the plant really needs water, check the soil with a screwdriver probe. If the soil is dry 2” into the soil, it needs water.
Mulch for moisture
Make sure you have wood mulch or even grass clippings on the soil to retain moisture—the added benefit is that this will help control weeds.
Make sure your plants don’t dry out while you’re on vacation
If you don’t already have a smart irrigation system, you can buy a timer to make sure your plants get the water they need while you’re gone. Drip irrigation is very useful for consistent moisture. Talk with a landscape professional about how to create a watering system that works for your landscape and can keep it properly watered while you’re away.