Adapting Your Gardening Routine to Changing Weather Conditions

Gardeners can strengthen their gardens’ resilience to climate change by working with nature, improving soil health, planting heat-tolerant vegetables, and adopting sustainable gardening practices that reduce carbon emissions from gardens and landscapes.

Start by regularly inspecting your garden. Look for successes and difficulties.

Watering

Gardening can be an incredible way to connect with nature. Not only can it produce food and flowers, but it can also lessen the impacts of climate change—yet this year could present unique challenges!

Gardeners have noticed their plants and flowers blooming earlier than normal, frost date patterns seem irregular, and rainfall increases—for instance, in the Northeastern US, where heavy rainstorms are more intense and frequent than before, many areas have seen a 71 percent increase since 1958!

Weather changes will likely continue, which means adapting our gardening practices accordingly. Here are six strategies you can employ to make your garden more resilient:

Scientists predict that hardiness zones will shift one or two degrees by the end of this century. To prepare for this change in your local climate, plant varieties that do well now and research what life might look like 20-30 years from now.

Consider planting native species in your garden and landscape to create habitats for birds, insects, and other wildlife. These species can withstand extreme temperatures while providing food sources for native animals that would otherwise perish from harsh winters or scorching summers.

Include raised planting beds in your garden to protect from flooding during rainstorms, and construct bioswales (or “bioswales”) to capture and divert runoff water away from your property.

Protect your plants from wind damage by learning more about typical wind speeds and directions in your region. Visit your city’s weather stats website, then select the section detailing typical wind speeds in your region. Plant crops along the side of your house, garden shed, or dense hedge, which best blocks out general wind direction.

Monitor the soil thermometer readings in your growing zone to protect your plants from harsh temperatures. Choose hardy varieties that can withstand high or low temperatures and plant them during the ideal seasons for your climate.

Fertilizing

As climate change impacts gardeners and farmers worldwide, it’s becoming more critical that they pay attention to the sun and weather patterns as well as what lies below their feet. Healthy soil ecosystems provide an essential foundation for gardening and are integral parts of climate adaptation strategies.

Soil health can be defined by its ability to deliver nutrients in forms plants can utilize, such as carbon and water. This ability depends on a soil’s history of farming activities, erosion rates, weather patterns, and other variables; to enhance this capability, it is often amended with organic material or inorganic chemical fertilizers called fertilizers.

Fertilizers supplement the soil’s natural nutrients or replenish those lost through previous planting. A wide selection of organic and inorganic products is designed to supplement this need; many are targeted explicitly at specific types of plants like roses, flowers, or vegetables. Some fertilizers require being broken down before absorption into plant roots, while others must be applied regularly as liquid solutions.

One key element of soil health maintenance is encouraging the activity of microorganisms that help break down organic matter and make nutrients available to plants. Weather plays a significant role here – windy or rainy conditions tend to inhibit their activity, while dry weather stimulates it further. To maximize soil health in your area, aim to align planting dates with optimal weather conditions when selecting planting dates.

Climate change can present both challenges and opportunities to gardeners alike. Warmer temperatures, for instance, may result in milder winters and longer summers that support more incredible plant growth or even cause some plants to bloom earlier than usual. Warmer temperatures also impact animal life cycles in ways they never did before – particularly those depending on blooming and fruiting plants like birds and insects that rely on them thriving more quickly than usual.

To combat climate change, try planting native species adapted to your local climate and soil conditions. Such plants will have a better chance of withstanding global warming challenges while providing wildlife habitat.

Weeding

As climate change increases, many traditional assumptions about gardening and landscaping no longer hold. Growing seasons now last all year round, and unpredictable weather patterns affect gardens and plants—from weeding to soil health. This has huge ramifications for their health.

Gardeners can take advantage of this shift by adapting their gardens to be more resilient to climate change. For instance, they could employ native species, decrease fertilizer use, and make fewer trips to stores for supplies; plus, they could create microclimates to shield their plants from extreme weather events.

For example, gardeners can protect perennial plants from the summer heat and drought by placing them in shaded areas or near shrubs, vines, or ground covers that will provide cover from sun rays and shade them from direct sunlight. This also extends their growing season while helping avoid damage from insects or diseases that might otherwise threaten them.

Learn to identify common weeds and understand their functions. Some weeds, such as nettles, thistles, and yarrow, can significantly benefit our ecosystem: food for pollinator insects while later being broken down to create soil-enriching compost in autumn. Furthermore, certain weeds have medicinal qualities and can even be used to make tea!

Weeding is an integral component of garden maintenance, and the ideal time and place to do this task is after it has rained or when the soil is moist. Working with wet soil simplifies pulling out weeds; UV rays will help kill off any remaining seeds!

Assemble quality tools, such as a hand-held weeder or hoe, for efficient weeding. If the surface you are working on is slippery due to dew, wear appropriate footwear. Also, be wary of any potentially hazardous weeds that might injure yourself if touched directly.

Gardeners can help reduce future warming by accepting climate changes and taking small steps to adapt their gardens, such as making minor adjustments that help create resilient communities of plants and wildlife. To find out more, register for the Arboretum’s online Climate-Friendly Gardening Workshop, which starts May 6! To discover more, register here for their Climate-Friendly Gardening Workshop, which begins on May 6.

Pruning

Gardening is more than a hobby to millions of Americans; it’s their way of life. Unfortunately, climate change threatens that way of life by increasing temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, and changing wind conditions across the nation – creating challenges for gardeners everywhere and altering how plants grow, bloom, and fruit, as well as whether and when warm-weather vegetables will mature.

One of the best ways to ensure the longevity and beauty of your garden is to prune regularly. Pruning involves removing branches, stems, buds, or roots from trees, shrubs, or bushes. While it may seem like an inconvenient chore, it’s actually an essential task in maintaining healthy and attractive landscaping.

Pruning requires more than simply hacking at shrubs; it’s an art that requires knowledge and skill. More plants are destroyed due to improper pruning than by pests or diseases. Knowing its goals will save time and money, reduce risk, extend plant life, enhance aesthetic value, and save valuable landscape trees.

Many are worried about the work involved with pruning, which is understandable given how time-consuming this task can be. But when done properly, pruning should form an essential part of a garden maintenance plan and should not be disregarded.

Pruning should be completed regularly throughout the year, although timing depends on species. Pruning most plants during their dormant seasons typically doesn’t cause damage, but always double-check what species need pruning when doing your landscape planning.

When pruning trees or shrubs, remove diseased or damaged areas as part of the pruning process. Also, remember to sanitize your equipment after each cut with alcohol or bleach to protect the planting area from disease transmission.

Pruning evergreens during late winter or early spring before their active growth period is generally recommended since this time is less likely to result in injury and more likely to spur rapid new growth.

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