The Hottest Months of the Year Are Upon Us. Are You Ready?
It’s here. Ready or not, summer can be the best friend – or worst enemy – to your lawn, gardens, shrubs and trees. But we’re here to make sure you’re well prepared for summer success.
Now is the time to give your lawn and gardens some tender loving care for summer. This will help your yard stay green and healthy, even during the dog days.
In the Garden:
As you can imagine, Public Enemy #1 is lack of moisture. Watering needs to be top of mind with you from now until fall for your lawn and gardens to flourish. Nearly all garden and landscape plants need a constant source of moisture to produce abundant blooms.
Water thoroughly after planting, then supplement the natural rains with slow, steady soakings rather than shallow sprinklings. An inch and a half of water is a good rule of thumb to keep lawns and plants vibrant. The best time to water is in the early morning to reduce evaporation and let moisture to get deep into those roots. Avoid watering at night, as fungal diseases can take hold when damp soil is allowed to linger.
To keep a perennial garden full of color in the hot months, plant some annuals among early summer bloomers like irises, peonies and campanulas. Once the perennials fade, these annuals will keep adding color to an otherwise past-its-prime bed. Some nice companion flowers for perennials are nicotianas, salvias, verbenas, zinnias and heliotrope among others.
Good news! Vegetables are entering their most active growing phase. Make sure you are consistently watering them and thinning out any crowded plants. Also, stay on top of weeds, as these no-good thieves will rob your plantings of moisture and nutrients.
Now is the time to harvest early crops of spring-planted veggies. And once you harvest, don’t leave empty spaces after pulling plants. Replace bare spots right away with summer crops like corn, carrots, beans, peppers, beets, cucumbers and potatoes. For a Halloween treat, now is the perfect time to plant your own pumpkins.
As the days grow warmer,
spring lettuce can develop a milky sap that makes the leaves bitter. If this happens, your only choice is to pull them out and replant. Romaine and loose-leaf varieties are heat tolerant and make good choices for second plantings.
Consider room in your garden for delicious and nutrient-packed fruits. Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are packed with antioxidants that help our bodies fight disease and stress.
Your Summer Lawn:
And while you are working hard to keep your gardens lush and weed-free, don’t forget that thick green grass on a manicured lawn is the perfect way to enhance their beauty.
Here are some hot-weather mowing tips.
- First, keep that blade sharp to make your job easier and reduce disease from shredded grass tips.
- Leave the clippings on the lawn. They give the soil a turbo-boost of nutrients and organic matter to improve lawn health.
- Change the direction and pattern you mow each time. This relieves stress on the grass.
Also, when you mow in summer, keep your blades set at three inches or more for a greener lawn. This will help protect the grass from the negative effects of heat.
Fertilizing should be done regularly. Check the directions for the frequency required for the specific fertilizer you are using. Be sure to spread the fertilizer evenly to avoid damaging the lawn. Doing this not only feeds the lawn, but it keeps damaging bugs and weeds away.
Speaking of bugs, now is the time to scout out pest problems and treat immediately. Some things to look for this time of year are bagworms on evergreens and shade trees, lacebugs on azaleas and pieris, spider mites on spruce, hemlocks and juniper. Avoid spraying when the temperature rises above 85 degrees.
Summer is here whether we’re ready or not. Why not embrace it? Following these simple tips will help you maintain beautiful, healthy yards and gardens even if the temperatures hit triple digits!