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Summer heat waves can compromise the health of humans, pets and plants. Many plants require a little extra help to withstand heat waves.

How to keep gardens safe in summer heat wavesSummer is a season to relax and enjoy the warm weather. Basking in the summer sun is a great way to relax, but only when the temperatures are safe. Summer heat waves can compromise the health of human beings, their pets and their plants. Indeed, gardening enthusiasts may need to go the extra mile to keep their plants and gardens from wilting under harsh summer sun.

Extreme heat can be very harmful to plants. The online gardening resource Gardening Know How notes that some plants can withstand summer heat waves better than others.

For example, succulents conserve water in their leaves, helping them withstand heat waves when the dog days of summer arrive. But succulents are unique, and many plants require a little extra help to withstand heat waves.

Take a proactive approach with mulch. Gardeners need not wait until the heat arrives to protect their plants from searing summer heat. The sustainable living experts at Eartheasy recommend utilizing light-colored mulch during heat waves.

Such mulch reflects sunlight and helps maintain cooler surface soil conditions. Eartheasy even notes that grass clippings, once they've turned from green to light brown, can make the perfect mulch to protect plants from the heat. Clippings also are free, making them a cost-effective solution.

Water wisely. The horticultural experts at Yates Gardening note that water only helps plants withstand heat waves if it's applied effectively. If water is only applied in short bursts and not long enough so it can penetrate all the way to the root zone, roots will stay near the surface.

In such instances, roots will dry out during a heat wave and plants won't make it through the season. Timing also is essential when watering. Eartheasy recommends watering in the morning to avoid heat scald and ensure that as little water is lost to evaporation as possible. When watering during a heat wave, do so by hand rather than with a sprinkler. Hand watering allows gardeners to direct all of the water onto the plants that need it most during a heat wave.

Let your plants pitch in. When planting new plants, it's important that gardeners recognize it takes time for these plants to establish their roots so they're strong enough to withstand heat waves.

In the meantime, strategic planting can help them make it through their first heat waves unscathed. Eartheasy notes that planting next to taller, more established plants can provide new plants with shade that can help them survive heat waves. Just make sure that your new plants still get the sun they need to thrive.

Heat waves are inevitable and potentially harmful to gardens, but gardeners can help their plants beat the heat in various ways.

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