Summer Heat on Plants

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Summer is quickly approaching and so is the North Carolina summer heat. Ensuring your plants are healthy and happy in this climate is vital if you want them to flourish. One of the most common issues with plants this time of year is extended wilting.

Did you know that plants can become permanently wilted if they do not receive enough water over extended periods of time? The issue starts when soil moisture levels begin to decrease. Once soil moisture levels reach a certain low point the plant can no longer extract enough moisture from the soil to continue to be healthy. This causes the plant cells to shrink and in turn, affects the leaf structure which we see as wilting. If the moisture levels remain extremely low for an extended period of time the plant will decrease its water capacity and maintain a permanent wilted appearance. Even though you continue to water the plant it will not return to its original, healthy-looking state. This means the plant has reached its permanent wilting point and can no longer recover from the effects of low soil moisture. Different elements can cause soil moisture to decrease such as high temperatures, low humidity, and intense sunlight.

This can easily be prevented from happening by properly and carefully caring for your plants. Watch for beginning signs of wilting including leaf tip browning, yellowing, and leaf dropping. If you notice any of these symptoms try adjusting the amount of water you use or the frequency of times you water your plants. If your plants are located in pots that can be moved try adjusting the amount of sunlight the plants receive by moving them into and out of the direct sun.

Plants can reach permanent wilting point very quickly in the right conditions. As soon as you determine a plant is beginning to wilt the previously given solutions should be used in order to restore the plant back to good health.

Callie Steger is the summer intern for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Lee County.