Posts Tagged With: watering

Keep Your Garden Happy with These End-of-Summer To-Dos

10 End-of-Summer Gardening To-DosAs the end of summer draws near, seasonal changes require do-it-yourselfers to adjust their gardening to-dos, to keep up with their harvests, maintain their full, lush flower beds and simply enjoy their favorite growing time of the year! As with any circle of life, the care of plants shifts slightly to keep them happy and healthy. With that in mind, consider the following end-of-summer to-dos this August:

  • Water deeply and well, rather than shallow and often. Light daily sprinkles of water draw a plant’s roots closer to the surface, making them more vulnerable to disease. This is especially true of tomato plants. Watering early in the day allows plants to absorb moisture before the hot sun dries the soil and ensures that the foliage dries before nightfall, which protects them from fungus. Check water needs of hanging baskets once or twice daily.
  • Change the water in bird baths or water features more regularly, so the stagnate water does not become a breeding ground for mosquito larvae and other insects.
  • Prune summer blooming shrubs for shape, after they have finished flowering.
  • Plant new evergreen trees and shrubs, so they can have several months to grow new roots, watering every week until the ground is frozen.
  • Now is also the time to plant late flowering plants and shrubs such as Rose of Sharon, Hydrangea, Butterfly Bush and shrub roses, as well as ornamental grasses such as Japanese Maiden Grass, Fountain Grass or Switch Grasses.
  • Go easy with fertilizing roses now — studies have shown that keeping your roses a little “hungry” helps them over-winter better.
  • Continue to deadhead flowers on annuals and perennials so they continue to bloom longer into the season. Apply fertilizer to annuals once every two weeks for continued flower production. If perennials need to be rejuvenated, cut them back, give them some fertilizer and enough water, and watch them re-bloom. However, let some of the flowers go to seed now, to reseed for next year.
  • Cut back and divide rhizomes by lifting the entire clump with a rake or spade and discarding the oldest, bloomed-out middle sections, then replant.
  • Sprinkle spring-flowering perennial seeds such as forget-me-nots around your garden for an attractive under planting for bulbs such as tulips in the spring.
  • Make note of blank spots in your garden, then buy late summer bloomers and plant them to add color, making sure they get the water they’ll need during the hot, dry weather to become well-established.
  • Plant fall and winter vegetables, including green onions, carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach, radishes and winter cauliflower. Toss overgrown or rotting produce on the compost heap, and remove infected plant matter to prevent attracting diseases and pests.
  • Harvest herbs and dry them in a cool, airy and shady place, or freeze.
  • Prune and fertilize Halloween pumpkins for big results. Start by taking off all but one or two pumpkins from the vine.
  • Mow your lawn more often to defend against weeds. Grass also goes dormant this time of the season, so water brown lawn regularly and deeply.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next gardening project. From landscaping tools to fertilizers tree spades, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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5 Items on Your Mid-Summer Gardening Checklist

5 Items on Your Mid-Summer Gardening ChecklistFor do-it-yourself gardeners, the summer season is just starting to heat up! Now’s the time to enjoy all the beauty that your garden, yard and landscape have to offer — at least until summer’s end, which isn’t until September 23.

Yet, a gardener’s work is never done – from mowing the lawn to weeding flower beds – the best way to keep your home grown oasis looking fabulous is regular maintenance. The more care and passion you put into making your garden grow, the more enjoyment you’ll receive, not only from puttering among the begonias but from relaxing to take a look at your handiwork. With this helpful gardening checklist, you’ll be well on your way to enhancing your garden experience!

1. Re-plant Annual Flower Beds: Replace cool-weather annuals that have stopped blooming or have already died back with heat-loving varieties such as verbena, lantana and geranium (in some areas of the country, these plants are considered perennials). Adding new annuals refreshes the garden with color and abundant flowers.

2. Add Tropical Flair: Surround your patio or deck with bird-of-paradise, fig, elephant’s ear, hibiscus, dracaena or bougainvillea, warm-climate plants that love the heat and humidity, which intensifies during the dog days of August. In the fall, move these tropical plants indoors and enjoy them as houseplants. Also, check the supports of palm trees, which are required for the first six to eight months to deter them from toppling over. Do not nail the supports to the trunk of the tree.

3. Add a Water Garden: From in-ground ponds with water lilies to container water gardens that display green and burgundy cannas, papyrus or pitcher plant, a water garden can actually add a cooling element to your landscape.

4. Tend to Vegetables: At this time of year, stop harvesting asparagus and rhubarb so these perennial edibles can prepare for next year’s crop. Mulch the area to prevent weeds from taking over the beds. Protect precious tomatoes from hornworm by inspecting the foliage in the morning and evening, when the big green-and-white caterpillars are feeding. Pick them off the plants with gloved hands and drop them in a jar of soapy water.

5. Prune Shrubs: Spring flowering shrubs such as lilac, hydrangea and spirea should be cut and shaped immediately after flowers fade. Wait until late summer or early fall, when there’s no danger of pruning away next year’s developing flower buds.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next gardening project. From planting advice to landscaping tools, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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How to Properly Maintain Your Garden by Weeding, Mulching & Watering

Maintain Your Garden This Summer in 3 Simple Steps

Summer is the perfect time to maintain and enjoy your garden. That said, there are three key components to summertime garden maintenance: weeding, mulching and watering. Pruning and increasing shade when necessary can also improve the lives of your flowers and plants. Disturbed soil loses its moisture rapidly and makes it hard for gardens to recover, so keeping up with your outdoor oasis is crucial.

Step One. Eliminate Pesky Weeds

The idea is to smother weeds before they germinate, and to do so by keeping the soil moist, thus making it easier to pull weeds up. Another preventative measure is to remove weeds before they go to seed and spread through your garden. The key indication being that they are still small at this point, not too big, only 2-3 weeks old. Using a trowel or hoe to scrape below the surface will cut and uproot these tiny weeds. This is an example of cultivation as a weed elimination method.

Another type of weeding is just that, weeding in the literal sense…pulling weeds out by hand. Having really moist soil allows for this because they pop right up if they’re small enough and not deeply rooted.

Step Two. Mulch Every Square Inch

Mulching is also a method for preventing weed growth — depriving them of light and air, essentially smothering them. Mulching conserves moisture and allows your plants to maintain a constant temperature range. Not surprisingly, mulch reduces evaporation from the soil up to 70%.

In addition to this, mulch improves soil structure, increases water retention, soil nutrients and worm activity. Mulch is essential if you want to maintain your garden through periods of low rainfall. And even better, mulching eventually destroys most if not all weeds.

There are a variety of materials you can use for mulch, including:

  • straw
  • compost
  • shredded bark
  • grass clippings
  • other organic material

*Quick Tip: compost, straw or bark mulch are ideal for garden beds. Whereas stones or wood chips are better for paths and non-growing areas because they reduce soil splash, dust, etc.

Step Three. Water With Purpose

First things first, before watering, push aside the mulch and put your finger into the soil. If it’s moist, then there is no need to water. If it is dry, then you know it’s about that time. There are two types of watering systems you can implement: fixed or portable.

1. Fixed: built into your garden. i.e. drip irrigation. This includes soaker hoses, which literally leak throughout the area. Fixed systems are at soil level, so water goes directly to the roots. For a soaker hose specifically, lay it through your garden where plants are small (for easy access) and then cover with loose mulch.

2. Portable: a cheaper alternative that can be moved exactly where needed i.e. watering and sprinkling cans, hand-held hoses and sprinkler systems. When choosing a water hose, consider a few qualities:

  • 4 ply construction for superior resistance
  • Large diameter (5/8″)  for faster delivery
  • Brass couplings, which reduce leaks

A few things to keep in mind when watering…

1. With existing plants, water less frequently and then not at all.

2. Observe for signs of stress i.e. wilting and leaf fall to determine if your watering schedule is effective or not.

3. Less frequent deep watering equips deep-rooted plants to withstand hot, dry days (i.e. drought resistance).

4. Set your sprinkler in one part of garden while hand watering in another to save time.

5. Water where crop plants are and drip plant in beds and out of paths.

Additional Resources

Good luck getting your garden in shape this summer. The sooner you finish weeding, mulching and perfecting your water schedule, the more you can enjoy it. Check out this Guide to Good Garden Watering for more insight. If you’re thinking of creating a new garden, or you don’t have one, take this quiz to find your perfect garden plan. Oh, and if this proves a pretty harsh summer where you are, read this article about how to protect your garden. Please reach out if you have any questions. Happy gardening!

Categories: Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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