How to Protect Tomato Plants From the Hot Sun

Tomatoes are among the most favorite vegetable garden plants in the usa, but can be tricky to induce to fruit where summers are really hot. If your plants are suffering from issues like blossom end rot, or they simply refuse to make fruit, it is likely they are overheated or water stressed. Several tactics have been developed by gardeners to help offset the effects of the hot sun on tomatoes, from liberally applying mulch to protecting plants with shade cloths.

Apply around 4 inches of mulch around your plants without covering their leaves. Supply smaller plants using a mulch-free zone directly around their stems until they are tall enough that not one of their leaves is below the mulch line. Adding mulch as they grow is another good way to keep tomatoes mulched without affecting their development.

Train your tomatoes to a tomato cage to allow them to provide themselves with adequate shade. Wind the vines throughout the cage to generate a plant which is more erect — the tomato plant’s own leaves will shade the plant from sunlight.

Water tomatoes frequently, as often as twice daily for containerized plants. Maintaining the soil moist helps cool the plant’s origins, and deep watering encourages them to grow straight down into levels of soil that are less influenced by heat.

Insert a 30 to 50 percent shade cloth or a white piece of cloth that works well, like cheesecloth, to a frame built above your tomato plants. Leave enough space between the tomato plants and the cloth to allow lots of workspace and encourage good airflow or your plants may develop fungal diseases.

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How to Prune Oriental Lilies

Talk about a fantastic investment. Plant one Oriental lily bulb (Lilium spp.) In a garden in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9 and delight in a large cluster of flowering stems which reappear like magic every spring. Oriental lilies are accurate lilies and also have stiff stalks around 4 feet tall, topped with showy blooms with an intoxicating fragrance. The many cultivars offer you a range of flower colors and bloom times, so with a little planning, your garden may be overshadowed by brilliant Oriental lilies all summer. These stunning plants need minimal pruning, giving you time to sit back and smell the flowers.

Disinfect your lawn clippers with denatured alcohol until you cut flowers to get an arrangement. Select stems containing multiple buds, including one grass that’s only beginning to open. Don’t cut too deeply down the stalk — the remaining stems and foliage will assist the plant collect the nutrients for blooming the next spring.

Prune off flower heads when they start to fade by cutting the hinge just below the blossom. Deadheading maintains the plant tidy and stops the Oriental lily from moving its energy to producing seed.

Remove any dead stalks at ground level once you notice them. Stalks may get knocked about by wind, pets or children. If possible, salvage the flowering top of the stalk to get a flower arrangement.

Water and feed Oriental lily plants after the last blossoms have faded and avoid pruning during this period. Bulb plants have to recharge their batteries after flowering so they have the saved energy required for blooming the next spring. After the leaves and stalks have completely withered, prune them off at ground level.

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How can pH Affect Plants?

The pH factor of dirt reflects its acidity degree, which will be important to think about because all plants need various levels for appropriate development. The soil’s acidity level also affects the dispersal of other crucial nutrients in the soil, along with an imbalance may block a plant’s ability to absorb them. Analyzing pH levels is important, particularly when planting a garden for the first time in new dirt whose acidity is unknown. This can be done with a home kit or by sending soil samples to your local country extension.

pH Requirements

When organizing a new garden, it is important that you understand whether your land is appropriate for the kinds of plants you may grow. The soil’s pH is ranked on a scale of 3.5 to 9.0, and many plants do best in soil that examines within the neutral selection of 6.0 to 7.0. Growth may still happen if the soil evaluations higher or lower than that, but plants can demonstrate the effects of an improper balance through inferior development and fruiting.

Effects of pH Imbalances

The letters “pH” stand for possible hydrogen, the element that spurs the creation of acids in the soil. Ratings far below 7 indicate very acidic dirt, while considerably higher readings reflect high alkalinity, sometimes referred to as sweetness. Amendments such as lime are usually not necessary in neutral soils that are suited to many commonly grown plants. Significant effects of extremes in pH levels comprise gaps in nutrient availability and the existence of high levels of vitamins that are harmful to plants. In very alkaline soil, specific micronutrients such as copper and zinc become chemically inaccessible to plants. In very acidic soil, macronutrients such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorous are not absorbed while some reach toxic levels, states the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension.

Nutrient Availability

Important nutrients are absorbed by plants at varying levels of effectiveness based upon the soil’s acidity level. Nitrogen, sulfur, potassium, sulfur, magnesium and iron are available along a broader variety of acidity, while the availability of phosphorus, manganese, copper, boron and zinc lessens as alkalinity increases. Molybdenum, a trace mineral, increases in accessibility proportionate to the soil’s alkaline amount.

Additional Effects

Along with affecting how nutrients are dispensed to growing plants, pH levels also affect microorganic activity that contributes to the decomposition of organic substances. A neutral pH is excellent for microbial action that creates chemical changes in dirt, which makes nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus more accessible. A pH that is either too high or too low can also interfere with the effectiveness of pesticides by changing their fundamental composition or weakening their capacity to kill unwanted insects. Correcting very acidic dirt usually involves working lime to the soil a couple of weeks before planting, while correcting alkaline dirt normally calls for the inclusion of gypsum, which also lessens the high sodium content often found in these soil.

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The Greatest Shrubs to Plant for Privacy

A privacy screen composed of grouped a hedge can be a welcome addition to your home landscape, blocking unsightly views and helping reduce noise. Viburnums, oleanders, lilacs and certain hibiscus shrubs are excellent choices.


The genus Viburnum incorporates several species of blooming shrubs which grow well planted in a circle or as a hedge for privacy. Viburnums typically produce dense, foliage-covered divisions and clusters of white blossoms in late spring, followed by small red or purple fruits attractive to birds. A couple of the very best choices are the wayfaring tree viburnum (V. lantana) and blackhaw viburnum (V. prunifolium). Both species are quick growers that reach about 15 feet, can develop colorful foliage in autumn and are exceptionally tough and tolerant of most soil types and environments. Viburnums are generally hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 3 through 9, depending on cultivar.


Oleanders (Nerium oleander) are broadleaf evergreen shrubs which grow in an upright, rounded form. They achieve a mature height of about 8 feet and spread to about 5 feet, making them a great option for a privacy hedge. Oleander bushes are covered with shiny green leaves and develop fragrant white, pink or red flowers in summer. Pink varieties include “Barbara Bush,” “Apple Blossom” and “Lady Kate,” while reds include “General Pershing and “Scarlet Beauty.” “Mary Constance” offers white blossoms. Oleanders are tolerant of dry conditions and poor soils, thrive in full sun but will also do well in light shade, and are resistant to common diseases and insects. All parts of oleandar plants are poisonous and should not be ingested. Oleanders are frost-sensitive and suitable for outdoor culture in USDA hardiness zone 8 through 10.

Shrub Hibiscus

Hibiscus shrubs (Hibiscus syriacus) make up a huge group of plants which are sometimes known as rose-of-sharon or Chinese hibiscus. They are deciduous, flowering shrubs which can achieve heights of 8 to 10 feet and are generally multi-stemmed, with spreading branches. When planted in a row or circle, they develop into a compact privacy screen covered in summer with large, showy blooms. Good cultivars include “Blue Bird,” with blooms at a true-blue shade, “Diana,” bearing large white flowers, and “Minerva,” displaying pink to lavender blooms with a red eye. Hibiscus shrubs prefer full sun, but will tolerate some shade, are tolerant of soils and thrive in extreme heat. They’re hardy and grow well in USDA zones 5 through 12.


Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) are deciduous shrubs which normally grow up to 15 feet tall and 6 to 12 feet wide at maturity. Lilacs are helpful for privacy when planted in a category or a row. The frequent variety has lavender-colored, pyramidal groupings of miniature spring blooms, called panicles, that make a powerful, sweet and distinctive fragrance that attracts birds. They prefer full sun, but tolerate some shade for component of the day, perform best in slightly acidic, well-drained soil and don’t tolerate soggy places. Several cultivars of the frequent lilac are available, creating blossoms in pink, white, purple or magenta. Lilacs are generally hardy and grow well in USDA zones 3 through 12.

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How to Landscape Close Sewage Pipes

The last thing anyone wants in their front yard is a little pond of sewage, that is why it is a fantastic idea to decide in advance what types of plants work best about sewage and water pipes whenever you’re planning your landscaping. This helps prevent roots from growing toward and wrapping about pipes, or in some cases trying to develop into the pipes for the water.

Contact the appropriate utility company to locate your sewage pipes in addition to other hidden obstacles such as cable and gas lines. They will mark the places. Avoid digging in areas where wires are marked and dig just shallow holes above pipes.

Decide where to locate natural areas. Generally it is better to have mostly grass over sewage pipes, but because the pipes do operate in the home, that is not possible in all cases. Use spray paint to outline natural areas and step back to look at the plan and make adjustments.

Select flowers, ornamental grasses and low shrubs to plant near sewage pipes. Avoid planting fast trees, which have deep roots and are more likely to cause damage such as roots tangling around the pipes. If you have to have trees, then select slow-growing ones such as a saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana).

Stagger the plants for a more natural look, setting flowers and tiny plants in between little shrubs, or even zigzagging vegetation in order that it is not in a direct line.

Use rocks and other ornaments such as bird feeders or glass globes to fill in organic areas. These constructions will not result in any harm to the sewage pipes and include a bit of attention to the overall look. When installing bird feeders or other things on a article, locate the post many feet in the sewage pipes, so the digging does not disturb them.

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How Much Water Do Survive Oaks Drink?

The native live oaks of California’s coast and interior grow tall and broad, not just in the country’s oak forests, but in many urban parks and suburban yards. It is likely to eliminate these live oaks with kindness in a dry, warm Mediterranean climate, however. Take your advice from their natural habitat to determine how much water all these evergreen giants must drink.

Live Oaks and Water

Live oak trees are accustomed to sipping, not drinking, water — they’ve adapted to low to moderate rainfall in the warm, dry Mediterranean climate of California’s coastal ranges and valleys. These big, broad-crowned trees grow deep tap roots when young, but as they mature, their roots grow only under the soil’s surface, extending past the drip line of the crowns. Young trees may need irrigation once or twice monthly to become well recognized in dry years, but mature live oaks grow best in well-drained, moist soil. An excessive amount of moisture, whether from too much rain or well-intentioned irrigation, contributes to oak root rot. In addition, it can nourish Phytophthora ramorum, the fungus pathogen associated with Sudden Oak Death, which thrives in cool, foggy coastal weather. Nearby structure, compacted or clay soils and turfgrass lawns may also hurt the extensive root systems of live oaks.

Coast Live Oak

California, or shore, live oak (Quercus agrifolia var. agrifolia or Quercus agrifolia var. Oxyadenia) rises up to 100 feet tall in its native habitat, but in urban areas it rises 20 to 50 feet, frequently spreading as wide as it’s tall. Its brief trunk splits into several crooked divisions. Thick, glossy evergreen leaves keep water, which makes coastal live oaks moderate consumers of water, some of it provided by coastal fog. Provided your place receives 20 to 30 inches of annual precipitation, a coast live oak should not need extra water except in very long time. During droughts, moisten the top 8 to 10 inches of soil once a month with a drip hose.

Canyon Live Oak

Canyon live oak (Quercus chrysolepis) has gnarly limbs and compact size — the tree might grow as a tree no taller than 15 feet, a fantastic size for suburban lots and urban spaces. In its natural habitat as mountain ridges and in canyons along riparian borders, the tree might grow as tall as 60 feet. Its holly-like leaves are hairy when its own yellow acorns take two years to mature. Canyon live oaks need small water beyond that provided by winter rains and foggy days on the coast.

Interior Live Oak

Interior live oaks (Quercus wislizeni, Q. parvula, Q. shrevei) grow in shallow, dry soils and are low water-use trees, indigenous to interior regions with as little as 5 to 10 inches of precipitation per year. Such as the canyon live oak, interior live oaks grow in several varieties, some growing in 35 to 70 feet tall — and almost as wide — along with others growing just up to ten feet. Like other live oaks, they need well-drained soil for survival.

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The Meaning of Loam Soil

Most gardeners struggle some type of soil challenge — typically too much sand or too much clay. At the conclusion of a gardener’s upbeat rainbow is a backyard filled with loam, which is that the pot-of-gold blend of soil to sustain plants.

The Loam Equation

Loam is a combo of the three primary types of soil: sand, silt and clay. In the big end of the particle spectrum is sand, which includes inferior water-holding capacity but supplies good aeration for plant roots. Clay soil particles are small, and they pack down easily, shutting the spaces between the particles so air and water can’t penetrate easily. Silt soil particles are medium-sized when compared with clay and mud, plus they share properties with every one of these. In a ideal garden world, loam is the result of almost equal components of each of these components.

The advantages of Loam

Loam combines the best qualities from each of the 3 main soil types. Sand is porous, silt is textured and clay keeps water and adds minerals. Loam is an ideal combination of the three since it holds water, comprises nutrients and allows oxygen to reach plant roots. When garden soil reaches its loamy potential, half of the pore space between soil particles is filled with water and the other half is filled with atmosphere. Since loam allows plant roots to penetrate deeply, it will help prevent soil from eroding.

Loam and Tilth

Tilth is the characteristic of land that explains its texture and water-holding capacity for its suitability to encourage plant growth. Loamy soils have good tilth and therefore are loose and crumbly as opposed to sticky and compacted. You can identify loamy soil by two managing tests. When you squeeze a handful of moist soil, sandy soil breaks apart, clay ground forms a tough bump and loam soil holds together. Should you roll sandy soil between your thumb and forefinger, you can’t form it to a decoration. Clay soil is easy to develop into a decoration, and loamy soil forms a short ribbon that crumbles when it reaches 1 inch long.

Achieving Loam Balance

If your garden soil isn’t loamy, you can better its tilth by adding organic amendments, such as well-aged manure or compost. Organic matter loosens heavy clay soils and enriches sandy soils. Optimally, add organic matter to garden soil in the rate of 30 percent by quantity and work it in by tilling or spading. Organic mulches in flower beds or vegetable gardens can also improve soil tilth. As the mulch decomposes, it breaks down into organic particles that help change sandy or clay soil to loamy soil.

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Jambu Fruit Plant Truth

Jambu fruit (Syzygium samarangense or Eugenia javanica) goes by many common names, including wax apple, java apple, samarang rose apple and jumrool. Although rare in cultivation outside the tropics, they are grown as trees in warmer climates where frosts are rare. Jambu fruit trees endure conditions under which other fruit trees will endure. But, handsome appearance and their fruit will suffer if increased in poor, sandy soils.

Physical Description

Jambu fruit trees vary considerably in height, from 16 to 50 feet. But all include a stout, 10- to 12-inch trunk and a spreading canopy like a shrub. Their oval leaves contrast nicely providing them an ornamental appearance year-round. Panicles of pompom-like, mild yellow flowers type each measuring 3/4 into 1 1/2 inches broad. The flowers grow into fruit, if pollination occurs. The fruit starts out green or white ripening into a glossy, brownish-red color.

Climate Considerations

A native of southeastern Asia, the jambu fruit tree’s marine areas is accommodated to climates. It grows best within U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10a to 11, where it will withstand minor cold snaps if coated. Gardeners in colder climates can develop fruit plants in containers for many seasons, overwintering them in a greenhouse or a hot, bright room indoors. But , they will outgrow a container and need a situation to endure.

Growing and Care

Jambu fruit plants grow best in full sun with moist, fertile soil. Bad soil lowers the quantity and quality of the fruit. Although jambu fruit plants benefit from twice feeding using balanced, 15-15-15 analysis fertilizer to encourage their development garden-grown trees require very little care apart from occasional watering and annual mulching. One factor when developing fruit plants that are jambu is temperature. They need temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit to successfully fruit, which proves challenging in temperate climates. Pot cultivation allows for more easy access to their fruit, as well as easier control over their growing states during harvest.

Fruit Information

The fruit of trees that are jambu have slightly insipid, spongy flesh which ranges . Fruit tend to be of greater quality than those harvested in summer, even though the quality varies with their growing requirements. The varieties are consumed raw, stewed with apples or served with sugar, while the greenish fruit is used in a succulent fashion in sauces or consumed with salt. Mature fruit trees may endure a hefty crop, producing up to 700 fruits by their fifth year if increased in fertile soil. Jambu fruit’s skin is thin, so care has to be taken when harvesting them to prevent bruising or puncturing their flesh.

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Crops That Improve the Nitrogen Content of Soil

Rather than allowing your garden to lie fallow throughout the off-season, develop a cover crop that will increase the soil’s nitrogen degree. Select a legume, or member of the bean family, to accomplish this, since beans have nitrogen-fixing bacteria in their roots which take free nitrogen and fix it to compounds readily available for plant use. Nonlegume cover crops help enhance the dirt, but they don’t enrich the nitrogen. Since cover plants are tilled into the soil, they also enhance soil permeability, structure, organic matter and nutrient-holding ability.

Annual Clovers

Clovers have benefits for home gardeners since they’re quick-growing annuals which are easy to cut down before they’re added to the soil. Berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum), a Mediterranean native, grows in mild winter areas as a cool-season crop as well as a summer annual in areas with cool summers. It increases soil nitrogen by 2.6 percent. The 24-inch-tall clover doesn’t volunteer and does well in most soil types. Shorter rose clover (Trifolium hirtum) reaches 3 to 18 inches tall and weighs two percent nitrogen. A cool-season crop, rose clover tolerates any well-draining soil type.

Vining Vetches

Vetches (Vicia spp.) Possess a vining habit. The annual plants are cool-season plants, sown in fall and cut down and dug beneath before they blossom in spring and until stems become hard. Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) is 12 to 20 inches tall and has many cultivars, like “Lana,” “Oregon” and “Auburn.” Common vetch (Vicia sativa) is approximately 22 inches high and is also referred to as spring vetch or Oregon vetch. It does nicely in mild winter areas. Both these species contribute 4 percent nitrogen into the soil.

Bean and Pea Crops

Field peas (Pisum sativum) and bell beans (Vicia faba) are cool-season annuals and, as with other cover crops, aren’t allowed to blossom or form fruit until they’re tilled under. Bell beans have large seeds and large, fleshy leaves. They require fertile, well-drained dirt and enrich the soil with 1.2 percent nitrogen. A vigorous grower, field pea requires well-draining dirt conditions. The cultivar “Austrian Winter” is most common, but two newer kinds, “Miranda” and “Magnus,” mature earlier. Field peas enrich soil nitrogen by about 3 to 4 percent.

Warm-Season Crops

A warm-season, annual cover crop, sunnhemp (Crotalaria juncea) grows 39 to 117 inches tall. It tolerates drought and infertile soil. Sown in summertime, it grows quickly, suitable for tilling beneath in 60 to 90 days, contributing 1.7 percent nitrogen enrichment. Cut down the plant before stems become woody. Another warm-season annual, cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) grows between 19 and 24 inches tall, usually tilled under approximately 60 days after sowing. A number of cultivars exist, and soil nitrogen increases 1.4 to 1.5 percent. It grows well in light or heavy soil types, but requires good drainage.

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Is It Good to Insert Shredded Leaves to Garden Soil & Till?

A walk across a forest floor carpeted with leaves in a variety of stages of decomposition gives a visual illustration of how character uses leaves to gain. In case you have trees in your house or have access to a supply of leaves in autumn you can replicate transfer and the woodland activity that benefit to your garden. In their natural environment, leaves can take one year or more time to decompose, but you can speed the process by shredding them adding them directly to the soil of a garden.

Nutritional Benefits

Leaves are storehouses for most of the nutrients that plants will need to survive. As they break down, the nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and trace nutrients they contain are discharged into the soil from the action of germs and fungi that have the leaf tissues and residue their rich waste. Decomposers, such as earthworms and insects, are drawn to the nutrient-rich soil produced that aerate the soil and contribute their own waste and by the rotting leaves.

Structural Benefits

Shredded leaves improve the structure of garden soil by taking up space between particles that are dense, such as those located in heavy clay soil. These small openings allow water, air and nutrients in, turning unworkable soil into a rich moderate that is fluffy. In loose sandy soils with poor water retention capabilities, the decomposed leaf mold functions as a binder that partly seals off the openings between the particles, slowing the rapid movement of water and making it more accessible to plant roots. Working shredded leaves into rich soil on a regular basis can help to keep the soil rich, making sure the fertility of that the soil through growing seasons.

Leaf Processing

In comparison to entire leaves, shredded leaves incorporate with soil more easily, simply by mowing them as they gather on the yard and it’s possible to shred leaves. A lawn mower bagging attachment makes fast work of collecting the shredded leaves because you can easily deposit them anywhere you like without having to rake them . Then ditch if the mower doesn’t shred all the leaves its bag collects and spread out the leaves, and mow them again. Short of working with a collection bag in your lawn mower, consider coordinating the mower’s release chute so that mower-shredded leaves accumulate in a relatively compact area as you mow, then mow them a second time to break up staying entire leaves before raking up the shredded leaves and transferring them into the garden.

Decomposition Considerations

Working leaves right into garden soil offers advantages, but adding leaves that are shredded may a produce nitrogen depletion from the soil as they decompose. The only way to know for sure whether or not your backyard soil lacks nitrogen is to perform a soil test using a kit or by sending a soil sample into a county Cooperative Extension Service or a soil testing lab. Otherwise nitrogen into the garden soil at a rate of 1 1/8 pounds for each 500 square feet of garden space can counteract any possible imbalance if you added the ground and plenty of leaves.

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