We are coming to the end of an unprecedented heat wave in Calgary, however the city remains extremely hot. We normally average five days of plus 30-degrees Celsius weather over the course of each summer, but we had five straight days of plus-30 before the month of June even ended. This historic prolonged stretch of very hot weather beat a previous record set in 1914, when Calgary residents experienced five consecutive days of plus 32-degree weather.
It’s so hot that Environment Canada put out a heat warning as some parts of Alberta reached an unprecedented 40-degree Celsius this week. In Calgary, we easily topped the previous “hottest-ever” June day of 35-degrees Celsius, and also beat the record high temperature of 36.5-degrees Celsius (set in August, 2018), on June 29, when the mercury reached 37-degrees Celsius. Two more record-breaking days followed.
Help your lawn and garden through the hot weather
With it being very hot and very dry, obviously your lawn and garden are going to need a lot more water than usual. At times like these, underground irrigation is a huge advantage. Nothing guarantees the healthy future of your lawn quite like an underground sprinkler system that delivers consistent, accurate watering. If you are ready to install a sprinkler or irrigation system, we have the expertise to install your system and the equipment to get the job done right.
Always water early in the morning when the temperatures are at their coolest so that water has time to sink deep into the soil before it evaporates. Water gardens and trees more thoroughly than lawns to ensure moisture is reaching root systems. Watch your garden closely … if your shrubs and trees begin to look weak and droopy, they could be in danger. Keep them as healthy as possible so they are strong enough to fight off pests and bugs.
Don’t worry too much if your lawn begins to go slightly yellow. It’s so hot that it’s practically unavoidable. Definitely don’t let it die out completely, though! When it cools down watering will become more efficient again. After a few good soakings your lawn should bounce right back again.
If you have any plants in smaller pots, as it looks like the hot weather will continue throughout the summer you may want to consider repotting them in to larger pots. The more soil protecting the root ball, the better. You also won’t have to water quite as often.
We have always been a proponent of using mulch to extend the life of your landscaping, and its usefulness has definitely been proven over the last week or so. Whether organic or inorganic, all mulch accomplishes the following:
- Provides a direct layer of insulation to your plantings. In the spring, mulch will stabilize the soil temperature when days are warming and the nights are still chilly. In the summer, a mulch layer will serve to keep the soil and roots cooler under direct sunlight.
- Retains soil moisture. All mulches serve to delay the evaporation of water you apply to your garden or flower beds.
- Provides a physical weed barrier. All mulch is capable of preventing the germination of weed seed.
If you don’t have mulch, a good cultivation and fertilization may be helpful. Cultivating rearranges and breaks up the hard surface of the soil, which allows for air, nutrients, and water to penetrate much easier – especially if you take the time to build wells around your shrubs and perennials. Since you can directly target root systems you will need less water to keep your garden hydrated. After cultivation is an excellent opportunity to give your garden a decent application of fertilizer to give it even more strength to get through the summer.
How to beat the heat
This historic heat wave is fascinating, but also very dangerous. B.C. has also been extremely hot, with the village of Lytton hitting 49-degrees Celsius on June 28, the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada. Over five days, 230 heat-related deaths were reported in the Lower Mainland. As temperatures have been hovering around 20-degrees Celsius at night, there has been little to no reprieve to cool down.
To avoid a heat-related illness, it is recommended to:
- Avoid outdoor activities during the hottest times of the day.
- Take frequent breaks inside in cooler temperatures if you must be outside.
- Drink lots or water and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Wear high-SPF sunscreen and re-apply often.
- Wear a hat to protect your head, face and skin from the sun.
- Wear light-coloured, loose clothes in breathable fabrics.
Signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion
The Government of Canada is warning people to watch closely for signs of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat-related illnesses. The symptoms of heat-related stress progress from the fairly benign to the extremely serious. Therefore, if you are outdoors, whether you are exerting yourself or not, and experiencing the following symptoms, you need to get yourself, or the afflicted person, out of the heat immediately and to medical attention if necessary.
- Muscle cramping
- Excess sweating
- Clammy skin
- Flushed and dry skin
- Severe headache
- Loss of consciousness
Keeping your house cool
If you’re not lucky enough to have air conditioning, and not many in Calgary are, keeping your house cool in the midst of this very hot weather can be difficult. Some tips for maintaining a reasonable temperature indoors are:
- Open windows at night to take advantage of the (slightly) cool temperatures. Be sure to shut them all before it heats back up again, however.
- Shutting all blinds to stop heat from leaking in through the windows. Adding blackout curtains or tinfoil to reflect heat back outside where it belongs is also helpful.
- Use a fan to keep the air circulating. An old trick (that works!) is to put a bowl of ice in front of it for an extra-cool blast.
- Make sure your ceiling fans are rotating counter-clockwise. This sucks warmer air up near the ceiling and pushes the cooler air down.
- Cool down sheets and blankets in the freezer before getting into bed. As basements stay much cooler, it may be a good idea to relocate your bedroom for a few days.
- Avoid turning on the oven and use the barbecue instead.
Let us care for your trees and yard
With three generations of experience landscaping in Calgary, we know what to watch for to keep your property in tip-top shape to be enjoyed for many years. Mirage Landscaping operates as a full-service residential and commercial landscape maintenance and construction company specializing in serving southeast Calgary districts and communities including:
Auburn Bay, Chaparral, Chaparral Valley, Copperfield, Cranston, Douglasdale, Heritage Pointe, Lake Bonavista, Mahogany, McKenzie Lake, Mackenzie Towne, Maple Ridge, New Brighton, Odgen/Lynwood/Millican, Parkland, Riverbend, Sundance, Walden, and Willow Park.
Contact Mirage for a fast, free project quote to make your yard dreams come true.