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KUSA - With very high temperatures approaching, it's vitally important to keep your garden plants protected. Healthy, well hydrated plants deal best with heat.

Water borders, containers and lawns thoroughly. Deep, penetrating irrigation encouraged roots to delve deeply into the soil where it's cooler. Shallow watering results in roots forming near the top of the soil where they burn up easily. Deep, infrequent watering is much better than shorter but shallow irrigation.

You'll get the most from each gallon if you water in the coolest parts of the day when evaporation is lowest. Late afternoon or evening watering is ideal since it gives the plants the entire night to hydrate themselves and recover from the heat of the day. In the morning they are then best equipped to deal with a hot day.

My south-facing brick patio can become very hot in mid afternoon. I often squirt it down on a hot day to relieve the heat stress on potted plants.

Use a moisture meter to gauge the need for water. They cost less than ten dollars and will accurately gauge the moisture level deeper in the soil than your finger can. Use it to check pots or newly-planted perennials, trees or shrubs, which are at highest risk for drying out since their roots are not yet established.

These plants also benefit from regularly-applied fertilizer. I use Age Old Organics liquid fertilizer, using their "grow" formula with higher nitrogen to promote new growth and the "bloom" formula with higher phosphates to promote heavy flower production.

Keep perennials and annuals deadheaded to prevent them from wasting energy on seed production.

Now isn't the time to be a slacker gardener. Be vigilant about the care of your plants to keep them healthy and beautiful all summer.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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