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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sudden Exposure to Full Sun May Burn Star Jasmine

Q. My next door neighbor cut down large pine trees that shaded my wall of star jasmine 2 days ago. Is there even any point in trying to rig a shade cloth to get through the rest of the summer in hopes that they can "harden off" and transition to full sun through the winter and spring next year or should I basically pronounce them dead and start the grieving process now?

Star jasmine on a wall
A. Star jasmine can handle full sun if it’s planted in good soil. But you are right, it will probably go through some shock to have it exposed to the hot sun at this time of year. I am guessing you will have some scorching of the leaves and some dieback. But I think it will rebound. You may have to cut the damaged parts back, fertilize it in October and let it regrow in the spring.
Star jasmine failing and yellowing because it's growing in poor desert soil with the surface covered in rock mulch
            At this point, I would wait and see what happens. Plant health has a lot to do with how plants handle hot weather. Plants that are not as healthy will have more difficulty during hot weather than plants which are in good health. In a contrast to this, plants that are not as healthy can grow in protected environments and still look good.
            I would encourage you to buy some decent compost and spread about an inch layer at the base of these plants and water it in. The best compost for this is at Viragrow in North Las Vegas. You can buy it by the bag for I think about $2.50 a cubic foot.
            Soil improvement will go a long way in improving plant health and their ability to withstand adverse conditions. Because of the high light intensity and warmer temperatures, they might begin to use more water in this location.
            I don't necessarily think you need to apply water daily in this spot but you may have to increase the volume of water 20 or so percent and maybe add an extra day of watering each week now. Try adding this water with a hose first but avoid daily watering If you can. Watering daily might create some problems for these plants if the soil doesn't drain very well.
            If there is no surface mulch under these plants then I would put some there. Wood mulch is better than rock mulch for soil improvement. Use a 2 to 4 inch layer. You can get it free from the University Orchard in North Las Vegas which is 100 yards east of the corner of horse drive and North Decatur and Aliante Any Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday morning.

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