Record Heat Wave!

Outside temps hovered at 106

Officially, the temperature topped 106 yesterday, hot enough to fry a whole omelet on the sidewalk! Triple digit temperatures have been the rule lately in Tidewater, giving us one of the hottest weekends in our history. For the past week or so, temperatures have settled into the mid to upper 90’s each day, chasing us from the waterfront and garden to the relief of air conditioning.

Sadly, as I make my way around the community, the sight of dead or dying landscaping, especially newer shrubs and trees, has become more common. When temperatures rise to the mid-90s, photosynthesis begins to shut down and trees begin to drop leaves. In the 100-degree range, irreparable damage can often be done to trees as cell membranes begin to dissolve.  Water can be the solution but not always.

Several of our young trees, planted less than a year ago, have succumbed to the extreme heat despite being well-watered. A young serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) turned brown and died despite trucking water on a regular basis to this remote location. We also lost a year-old golden raintree (Koelreuteria paniculata) and a year-old bald cypress (Taxodium distichum).

Today we expect temperatures to drop about 16 degrees. A slow-moving cold front is pushing though and winds will drop temperatures into the upper 80s or low 90s. We’ll have sunny skies again, nary a drop of needed rain in sight, but the scorching heat should be over.

What is July like in your neck of the woods?

Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester

3 thoughts on “Record Heat Wave!

  1. My loss sheet so far only has one item, a dwarf Bald Cypress called Peve Minaret. However, I expect to add a few things to the list as damage begins to show itself.

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  2. In the city we have lost nothing, as we are able to water easily (but too often); even the boxwood show heat stress. Our worst so far is large and lush kousa dogwood has suffered sunburned leaves on one side of the tree.

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  3. Report no rain in my area. Boxwood leaves are turning brownish, plants are drying all around me. Let’s all start doing a rain dance to bring on the rains!

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