With temperatures heating up and more and more plants being exposed to high heat environments, it is now more critical than ever to make sure that heat stress is not an issue. There are a wide range of issues that come with high heat environments as it pertains to your plants and knowing about them is the best way to avoid serious issues.

What is Heat Stress in Plants?

Heat stress in plants occurs when plants are exposed to long bouts of intense heat. This is generally an issue in arid climates where there is little rain and in areas where shade is limited. Heat stress occurs when the plant is exposed to intense heat for days at a time and the heat begins to take a toll. Heat stress can damage or even kill plants if some relief is not found and many plants, unless they are used to climates with high heat, cannot stand intense heat.

For the most part, plants that are exposed to high heat for long periods of time are going to die unless they are bred to live in high heat areas. Plants like cactus for example have evolved to have root systems and water storage systems that make them hearty and allow them to live in high heat areas like the desert with little to no damage to the plant itself.

Symptoms of Heat Stress in Plants

There are a few different symptoms of heat stress to watch for in your plants. The first is to take into account the overall temperatures that your plants are being exposed to. If they are being exposed to high heat in excess of 90 degrees for prolonged bouts without rain there is a serious risk of heat stress for your plants. You should take measures to insure they are getting adequate water to prevent death. One of the first signs of heat stress are drooping plants.

If you previously healthy plants have begun to droop or appear to be limp they may be experiencing heat stress. Long periods of heat stress can also cause blanching of the leaves and even premature rotting of parts of the plant. If you have a plant that is in a pot you can also notice that the dirt is dry and crumbly and that the roots may not be in good shape.

For trees, the symptoms are a bit more dramatic with limbs dying and leaves and other foliage dropping to the ground leaving the tree bare. Heat stress for plants is a big issue with those plants that have been taken from their natural environment and taken to another that they may not be well suited for. Heat stress is something that must be watched closely before permanent damage is done to the plant.

How to Prevent Heat Stress

One of the best way to prevent heat stress in plants and trees is to provide adequate water. If you have an irrigation system you should make sure you are providing water to your plants during times when there is little sun so that the leaves are not scorched. You can also provide shade when possible to help lower the issue with heat stress. If you have plants in pots you can bring them inside to help prevent damage and to help prevent your plants dying from too much heat. With summer fast approaching, it is important to make sure that plants are well cared for.