Summer Garden Tips

July:
 

It's summer and it's finally drying up out there!  In our area we usually have quite a bit of spring rains.  After an over-abundant of spring rain, new roots may have a tendency to be shallow as they didn't have to spread far to gain access to water.  If you're noticing your plants seem to dry out more quickly than usual, this may be the reason.  If possible, give them an extra dose with the hose as they acclimate to drier summertime conditions.  


To-do in the Garden:

  • Weed, weed, weed.  It seems to me that around the weekend of the 4th of July, the gardens start growing like gangbusters, the tomatoes start to flower, the annuals start really bushing out, and the weeds come up from nowhere.  The best way to keep weeds down?  Don't let them take hold in the first place!  Every weed that flowers and sets seed has the potential to create many more weeds when the new seeds sprout. 

  • Mulching with wood chips, bark mulch, hay, leaf compost, etc will help dramatically to reduce the weed problem.  And save you lots of time to swim, read, bike ride, and spend time with the family!

  • Water.  Always the question.  How much, how often, what time of day.  It's better to water less frequently but deeper.  Shallow frequent waterings are often a waste of time and water.  It's better to water in the morning, evening waterings can make plants susceptible to powdery mildew and fungus.  Plants that are more acclimated to your climate will thrive with the least amount of attention.  Talk to your local nursery manager for the best options for your area.

Pruning time: 

  • The best time to prune most flowering shrubs is right after they've finished flowering.  That way you can encourage a full thick growth without cutting off flower buds that set during the summer for next season's bloom.

  • Dead-heading (removing spent flowers) on many annuals and perennials will encourage longer bloom time and fuller healthier plant growth.

August:

To keep your garden looking neat and clean, deadhead all spent blooms on your perennials and cut back the overgrown annuals.  Pots looking a little droopy?  Garden centers are starting to carry fall mums and asters!  These will last through several early frosts, so it's well worth the money for the fall color they bring to your pots!


To-do in the Garden:

  • Weed, as usual.  Even though it's the end of the season, be vigilant!  Every weed that flowers and sets seed has the potential to create many more weeds when the new seeds sprout.  Come spring, you'll be sorry for your laziness last fall!  

  • Mulching with wood chips, bark mulch, hay, leaf compost, etc will help dramatically to reduce the weed problem.  And save you lots of time to read, take walks, and spend time with the family!

  • Water.  As the days grow shorter and cooler, you can water less frequently, which gives you more time to dead-head and weed:)

  • Planting season!!  With the cooler weather coming, it's time to plant again!  Nurseries often have fall sales to get rid of stock before winter comes.  Even if some of the plants don't look great now, as long as they're not diseased or too pot-bound, they'll be fine!  

Pruning time: 

  • The best time to prune most flowering shrubs is right after they've finished flowering.  That way you can encourage a full thick growth without cutting off flower buds that set during the summer for next season's bloom.

September:

It's time to start cutting back spent perennials and pruning late blooming shrubs.  However, remember the birds!  They love to come in to eat the sunflower seeds, coneflower seeds, berries, and all the yummy treats fall has to offer.  So, wait to cut back the seed and fruit bearers until the birds have had their fill - it will make your garden happier, even if your fingers are itching to trim back the dead.  


To-do in the Garden:

  • Prune back spent perennials.  Remember that all of the yellow and orange foliage colors do add beautiful fall color to the garden, even if the plant is done blooming for the year. 

  • Mulch now with wood chips, bark mulch, hay, or leaf compost to help protect roots from winter damage such as frost heave.

  • Deer problems?  It's time to start fencing off any plants susceptible to winter deer browse.  8' fencing is best as deer can and will jump anything shorter.  

  • Bulb season!!  Get those bulbs in the ground!  Daffodils, tulips, allium (deer resistant!), and don't forget your garlic!!  I plant bulbs as long as I can work the ground, so take advantage of late season sales  on bulbs!

Repeat!! Pruning time: 

  • The best time to prune most flowering shrubs is right after they've finished flowering.  That way you can encourage a full thick growth without cutting off flower buds that set during the summer for next season's bloom.

  • Once the Panicle Hydranges are done blooming you can prune them back.  HOWEVER, don't prune the Hydrangea macrophylla. These are the Endless Summer and other varieties of blue/pink flowering Hydrangeas.  If you prune these, you will lose your early summer bloom as they bloom in early summer on the old wood from last season.  Do prune back your Limelights, Bobos, Strawberry Vanilla, Pinky Winky, etc.    Also, it's time to prune your Rose-of-Sharon and other late summer bloomers once they are done flowering.

 

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