According to scientific research, it was found that at the end of winter and early spring, average daily temperatures are important factors for the onset of photosynthetic activity of plants. Scientists believe that this may be due to the fact that plants during this period pass into a state of forced dormancy, the exit from which is restrained only by low temperatures. Possibly, in conditions of climate warming, some species of coniferous plants come out of forced dormancy even during short winter thaws. In this case, a water deficit may arise due to the resumption of photosynthetic activity and gas exchange, and it cannot be compensated in winter conditions due to frozen soils, which ultimately leads to drying out and the death of needles.
A burn from the sun’s rays reflected from the surface of the snow is superimposed on such desiccation. In mid-late April, when the soil thaws to the depth of the shovel’s bayonet, and the roots of the plant are already able to extract water from it, desiccation and burns are no longer dangerous. In mild, warm winters, the likelihood of damage is lower than frosty sunny ones. Plants with thin needles, young plantings of conifers, as well as plants planted in an area from the southern, southeastern and southwestern sides, on heavy soils, near a white wall of a house or a fence, are susceptible to this negative effect of thaws and further drying of the needles.
And so, we figured out what is happening, how can plants get sunburn and why. Let’s now find out how to deal with this, how to save sunburned plants? Is it possible and necessary?
How to Prevent Plant Sunburns
Sun damage causes the leaves, needles, and branches of plants to dry out, especially on the sunny side. The needles turn brown, the leaves turn yellow. In some cases, in the spring, the sunburned leaves seem to have coped with the damage caused by the sun, but in early summer the leaves do dry out. Scorching sun is even more dangerous if it is accompanied by strong winds, which in turn dry out the sunburned plants.
The bark of fruit and ornamental trees can also crack due to sun damage. To prevent this, you can use a trunk guard or whitewash the trunks with lime. Young trees, as a rule, recover well after sun damage – the bark on their trunk is more elastic and thicker, so small cracks heal. The problem can be more serious if the trees are over-fertilized with nitrogen. Then the cracks appear easier and larger. Thus, older fruit trees need more protection against cracks from the spring sun.
To protect sunburned plant leaves from the effects of thaws and the subsequent action of the spring sun, the main method is used – a shelter. Let’s see how to do it. The main purpose of sheltering conifers from burns is to erect an obstacle in the path of sunlight to the needles, and not to insulate the plant. It is very important! Therefore, for shelter, it is impossible to use such a well-known covering material (lutrasil, spunbond) for shelter, because it often only enhances the negative effect of spring sun rays. When conifers are sheltered from spring burns, their shoots under the influence of the baking sun are as if in a greenhouse and wake up even earlier and the damage is much stronger. In addition, the wrapped plants are heartily supportive.
Freshly planted plants are more susceptible to damage.
Protection of leaf sunscalds from early spring sunburn Thuja, rhododendrons, cypress trees, Canadian spruce, and others need protection from damage in our climate.
To Protect Conifers from Sunburn, It Is Recommended to Use the Following Methods
Scatters and reflects the sun’s rays, does not heat up, and does not accumulate heat, moreover, it is water and breathable. Covering plants with a shading net can be done in different ways. For example, you can cover the plant by stretching the mesh over the frame or over the frame by creating a shading screen. Or there is still an option that is optimal for small unhealthy plants: throw a net over the branches slightly tied with a rope. And for fairly large plants, you can create a shading screen and install it from the side as illuminated by the sun as possible.
Shelter with Burlap (Jute Burlap)
This option looks, of course, less aesthetically pleasing than the mesh, but it still has a place to be. It is better to use burlap by attaching it to the frame.
It will reduce the risk of physiological drought. In the spring, as soon as the snow melts, conifers also need to be watered.
These activities help prevent coniferous spring burn.
But what if you did not have time to protect your unhealthy plant, and it is already burnt?
How to Treat Sun Scorched Plants?
If there is sunburn on plants, water and fertilize abundantly in the spring. Add mulch as needed to better retain moisture. Conifers and shrubs, for example, should be fertilized with magnesium sulfate. When it becomes clear from the new green shoots that the plant is recovering, the damaged parts can be removed.
Treatment of Plant Burns
- First, the scale of the tragedy must be determined. If, nevertheless, the whole tree has suffered or most of it, then, in this case, resuscitation is most often already useless. Well, if a small part of the plant has suffered, then it is urgent to carry out resuscitation actions. Cut off any dry branches first, then spray the plants with room temperature water.
- Secondly, it is necessary to spray with preparations that have an anti-stress effect. You can make a mixture with the addition of preparations containing trace elements, for example, Cytovit, Ferrovit, Siliplant.
- Thirdly, feed the affected plants with spring fertilizers, with their obligatory incorporation into the soil and subsequent watering.
In conclusion, I would like to say that all this should be done on time. As the saying goes, it is easier to prevent than to cure. Untimely taken measures can lead to sad results, tk. plant sunburn leads to a decrease in the immunity of the plant, and this entails exposure to infectious diseases.
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