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Ways to Keep Your Plants and Flowers Alive in This Heat

The owner of Rooted in Thyme Landscaping and Nursery offers advice about keeping your plants healthy in the heat.

The summer heat has tended to steer people toward swimming pools, air conditioning or at least in front of a fan on full blast.

But that capability doesn’t apply across the board.

“If you think of a plant like yourself – I know how I feel today! – that’s exactly how that Japanese maple out there feels,” says Liz Frattare, owner of in Upper St. Clair.

Yes, all those varieties of vegetation out in your yard are susceptible to sweltering in the sun. So, what can you do?

“The watering question is probably the No. 1 question that I get,” says Frattare, a township resident who is certified in horticulture and landscape design.

“The absolute minimum amount of water you need is at least twice a week, and in situations like this, three times a week,” she recommends, referring to days when the thermometer nears 90. “Leafy plants, meaning plants that drop their leaves in the fall, tend to need more water than evergreens do.”

Frattare, who ran her own landscaping business for a decade before opening Rooted in Thyme, further recommends a daily schedule:

“The best time to water a plant is before 10 o’clock in the morning. The worst time to water a plant is 2, 3 o’clock. You lose a lot of it to evaporation.”

Actually, the worst time is as dusk approaches.

 “You never put your plants to bed wet. Don’t do it at 7 or 8 at night,” she says, or you probably will start to notice Mr. Mildew moving in.

And don’t forget those tallest of plants.

“If you water a tree and you just keep seeing it go down really fast, you know it needs it. When it stops going down that fast, you’re getting to the point where it’s OK.”

And given the conditions so far in 2012, you might want to check on your leafy friends.

“One of the things that happened this year is we had very little snow over the winter,” Frattare says. “Snow translates into ground water, so we were already behind the 8-ball coming into spring. Plants were not hydrated coming out of wintertime.”

Now that we’re full into summer, remember that although plants aren’t people, they still require care.

“We try to educate our customers when they buy any plant here from us,” says Frattare. “We try to tell people, this is not a sofa that you’re putting in your house. It is not a chair. This is a living thing.”

This story originally appeared on Upper St. Clair Patch

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