[Previously posted on Practically Gardening]
Every gardening resource tells you to site your garden in full sun. Flowers won’t bloom, tomatoes won’t ripen and disease will invade and take over. Good advice, except when there is too much of a good thing.
During the long, hot, dry days of summer, both leaves and fruits can actually get sunburned. You expect this on plants labeled for partial shade, like Hosta and Heuchera. But even tropical peppers and tomatoes can scorch.
What does sunburn look like on plants?
It depends on the plant. You may see papery yellowing or white spots, like the tomato below. Raspberries will have white drupelets, or sections, within the berries. You’ll often notice this on the south facing side of a plant or on fruits that aren’t protected by foliage, like this poor tomato here.
Once sun damage happens, there’s no fixing it. The fruits are still edible and may taste fine, except for the sections that are damaged.
Fortunately sun scald is usually not fatal. Once the extreme weather subsides, your plant should recover. You may need to consider relocating it, though.
You might be able to prevent sun scald
❦ Make sure you adhere to the plant’s sun requirements
❦ Don’t over prune fruiting plants
❦ Be especially careful with young plants that don’t have fully developed root systems
❦ Make sure your plants aren’t already stressed.
And if all else fails, provide some shade with a shade cloth or some type of temporary structure. I’ve known gardeners to place a ladder or chair in front of plants, sometimes draped with a sheet, to create shade.