Planting after a heat wave ?

linnea56(z5 IL)July 7, 2012

I have a boatload of both perennials (quarts and gallons) and annuals still to plant. I have been waiting for the heat wave to break. Here is Chicago we had temps in the high 90's or over 100 the last few days. Starting today it will cool down. 94 today (amazing that THAT would seem cool), then mid 80's the rest of the week.

All the pots have been kept in the shade. All look pretty good. That doesn't mean they didn't get hot, of course, just that they didn't bake in the sun. However, will they still be stressed from the heat? Ideally I'd like to start planting tomorrow.

But if they are going to be killed by planting, tell me what I should do. Wait a week? Two weeks? Keep them in the pots till fall? That would be difficult: they dry out so easily, especially the quarts.

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mistascott(7A VA)

You can plant during this upcoming break in the heat, but you have to be vigilant with watering as you are planting them during a high-stress time of year. Once the high temps return, you have to keep a close eye on them. I wouldn't leave them in the nursery pots until fall -- they will dry out and become root-bound (if they aren't already)

Plant in the early evening just before sunset, not the morning. You want to give the plants as much time as possible to acclimate before they get hit with the hot summer sun. I would give them at least a month of shallow, frequent watering and then slowly taper off to deeper and more infrequent watering so the plants can build some drought tolerance. Best of luck!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 12:49PM
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I don't think it makes any difference what happened to them the past few days -- they either lived or died, and clearly you took care of them so they lived. True, the root systems probably got warmer than in-ground plants did, but I doubt it would do much to them. It might even speed up heat loving annuals, perhaps send some perennials that naturally go dormant in the late summer into dormancy earlier.

I think what is far more important is how they are cared for AFTER they go in the ground. As long as you can keep them watered for the rest of the summer in-ground, I don't see any reason NOT to go ahead and plant. I have cleared out my collection of things waiting to be planted over the past 2 weeks, and now have to water in their new site, but I'm so glad they are all out of pots and in-ground now. It's always a big relief to me when the spring planting season is over

Well, ok, except for the little pile I bought the last couple of days because they are having a tremendous clearance at Lowes and Home Depot on my route home from work. It's still close to 100 here today, so I am staying inside and getting caught up on housework and laundry, yes, shocking I know but we men can do housework and laundry too, and will attend to my latest purchases tomorrow when the high is going to be 82.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 12:51PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

For future reference, I highly recommend baby pools. Sometime peoples discard old Little Tykes sandboxes (turtles, etc.) and those are designed to also function as pools. You put a few inches of water in them, then add plants. The plants stay watered with only a few minutes of attention from you every day.

For planting these pots, make sure you soak the pots before planting. Unless you've done an excellent job of keeping them watered, they are probably at least a little bit dried out. It will make watering them in the ground easier if they start out soaked.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 1:01PM
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Several good advice posted!!! There will be a break next week (in the mid 80s here, neighbor) might try a few then! Water frequently w/o drowning & sprinkling to cool foliage will be appreciated & reward you!!!

Last year during the heat wave I too had same dilema ~ mine were 10 real baby OSO Easy roses mailed (USPS no less) from IN. Water is the key they, all 10 lovelies are happy li'l bushes this season & handling the sizzling sun quite well in F/S exposure!


Good luck

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 1:22PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

a little late??? .. come on kiddo .. thats the understatement of the year ...

if you have been so busy.. that you had no time to actually plant them ... i fear for your ability to provide the TLC necessary to allow them to survive with planting in july/august..

dont you do the art show summer circuit.. who will care for them???

if it were me, in this circ .. i would get some mulch.. make a pile.. bury the pots in there .. and hire someone to water them when you are gone [i seem to recall hubby might not be reliable.. or a handsaw thing or another.. lol] ...

and plan for a nice fall planting.. when NIGHT TEMPS start getting back near the 60's.. on consistent basis ... and you will be near 100% foolproof ..

lol .


ps: yeah .... you can do it now.. if you can insure that you will be out there twice a day watering.. for the next 30 to 45 days ...

pps: .. i will yell ... DO NOT BUY ANY MORE.. UNTIL THESE ARE PLANTED.. that is the root of the problem.. always buying more.. lol ...

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 4:40PM
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Adding to mad gallicas suggestion of "watering containers", I've always used
those heavy-duty black plastic rectangular pans used for mixing mortar. . .
available at any HD or Lowe's, in several sizes. They're also handy for
transporting bunches of potted plants in the back seat or trunk (no mess!),
or when you're out collected rocks for the garden (What? You don't collect
rocks for your garden? There's a massive collection of Vermont-bred granite
in my garden, all transported in these pans). . .also great for mixing batches
of soil for special planting needs, a visiting one-year-old used it as her own
private pool, and upside down it's a great cover for an open bag of peat moss! It also comes in handy when I'm doing cement work :>)


    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 6:55PM
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I actually have planted several plants in this heat. Some I've grown from seed and others I bought on sale. I still have quite a few to plant. The key is to keep them watered which I do every other day. The ones in the pot get watered everyday. Some will make it others won't, but for what I paid I'm okay with that. Next week its suppose to be in the low 90s so I'll probably start planting again.

Its Kansas bedrock for me, nothing like seeing fossils embedded in rock among the garden plants.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 7:31PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Thanks for all the suggestions!

I'll look for a couple of those black cement âÂÂwateringâ pans. I do have foil pans from the food service store, the annuals that dry out too much are in those. But something stronger would be great. I use a litter box the cat rejected (who knows why :) ) for mixing soil. But the cement pans sound better.

Buying too much, and then running out of the right weather to get them in, is just âÂÂwhat I doâÂÂ. That, and the temptation of passing by an out of state nursery that has things I couldn't hope to get here. At least this year, I didn't go to a plant swap! Of course, every time I see something I have been wanting, and it's marked down, I cave in.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 7:44PM
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