June 1 seems to be the unofficial start of summer, even though the official start is later this month.
School's out, summer travel has begun and, of course, the summer heat has started a little early in our neck of the woods. Summer heat is sometimes hard to beat whether it's people, pets or plants.
What follows are a few tips to make your summer heat safer and easier. Let's start with our first category: People.
In order for the human body to cool itself, it has to have the ability to produce sweat.
The sweat evaporates and gives the body a cooling effect. Example: get your finger wet and blow on it. It feels cool, right? The same principle applies to sweating. It cools the body as it evaporates.
However, to sweat, you have to stay hydrated. In other words, drink plenty of water or sports drinks, especially when you are active outdoors. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks do no hydrate your body.
During outdoor activities, work or play, take frequent breaks, seek cooler places such as shade or air-conditioned areas. Learn the symptoms of heat illnesses: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Learn how to treat each one. It could save a life, maybe yours.
And do not forget about how hot the interior of a vehicle can get in the summer heat. Check out the graphic above. It can be only 90 degrees outside, but it will be 109 in just ten minutes and 124 in 30 minutes.
That's why drivers are urged to always check the back seat if you have small children. If left in a hot car it can lead to the child's death. Figure out a way to remind yourself, such as leaving one of your shoes in the back seat to force you to remember your child.
And don't forget, the same applies to pets.
Speaking of pets, they are susceptible to summer heat just like we are, and maybe even more. Dogs with short noses such as bulldogs and pugs naturally have breathing problems and cannot tolerate outdoor heat as well as the regular nose dogs. Give them extra care. Make sure your pet has plenty of shade. If you have no trees or shrubs, at least have a dog house or simply a cardboard box so they can take shelter from the sun. Make sure your pets have plenty of fresh water.
Change it as often as you can. And, if possible to let them inside to cool off. They deserve our help.
So it's on to plants. When purchasing plants and shrubbery, check to see if they are heat tolerant and can take full sun. Some are shade lovers. By making the right choices, you can have a great look and color all summer.
As for a great lawn, there are some rules to follow. When mowing, be sure to mow high. Scalping the grass can stress it and often lead to lawn problems. You may have to mow more often but it will be worth the extra time.
Also, make sure your mower blade is sharp and makes clean cuts to the grass instead of tearing the growth. On feeding what looks like a stressed lawn, you should hold off and fertilize after a good rain or sufficient watering.
As for watering, it is best to water early in the day, preferably between 6 and 10 a.m. If you water in the afternoon, much of the water will evaporate. I have found that watering late has sometimes given my lawn a fungus problem. You can often water only twice a week if the water penetrates the soil between a half inch and an inch, thereby getting to the roots providing the needs for healthy growth.
I know a lot of this may not be as simple as it sounds, but the efforts to provide summer protection from the heat, people, pets, and plants will help you have a great summer!
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