A Hot Dry Summer
June and July will go down in history as being some of the hottest months ever in our region. We will probably see a record for most days above 90 degrees and we still need to go through August.
This hot dry weather is affecting our landscape in many ways. The upside is distinctive insects like Japanese beetles are at a fraction of what they can be. Because soil moisture is down many grubs did not make it out of the soil. On the flip side, many trees and shrubs are showing water stress. The typical leaf curl, yellowing of leaves and leaf drop are being noticed in areas where trees are growing adjacent to exposed bedrock. Exposed rock heats up during the day and dries out the adjacent soil. During these extreme conditions, it’s important to hydrate plants showing water stress. The most effective watering method is to use a soak or sweat hose curling them around the root zones creating an even stream of water into the soil. Water slowly and deep into the soil, infrequent deep watering works best.
Hot humid weather also elevates ground ozone levels. Ozone is a pollutant that significantly deteriorates air quality. Through July our area has had 20 days where ozone levels have exceeded air quality health standards. People with respiratory problems should be aware of these elevated levels especially when working outdoors. Frequent breaks and keeping hydrated will help keep respiratory problems down.
To reduce ozone levels we should decrease driving and use public transportation. Refuel vehicles at night because gasoline vapors react with sunlight to form ozone. Also refrain from using gas powered vehicles in this weather.