Taking Care of Your Trees and Plants During the Summertime
The hot days of summer are right around the corner and here in Florida, and that means a lot more of what we have throughout the rest of the year, weather-wise. Plenty of muggy, plenty of sunny, and plenty of buggy. We, and our plants, experience more concentrated heat, more intense humidity, and greater numbers of six-legged visitors during our long hot season of the sun. With summer, everything seems sped up and magnified with extreme heat and intense storms. Yet at times, the air grows heavy and the wind stills, and we bask in the heat like a lizard basking peacefully on a rock, lazily watching the day go by. Our trees and shrubs, bushes and flowers, and fruits and veggies experience the ups and downs of the summer months more intensely than we do, being as they are outside and living through it up close and personal, as it were. We need to be especially aware of what our plants need and what we can do for them in the long hot months to come.
Watering Your Plants in Summer
While water can come quickly in the rush of our usual afternoon thunderstorms, there may come in some areas a lack of moisture from not-uncommon dry spells that linger from time to time. If you experience dry summers or a dry weather pattern, you may wish to water your garden to keep it looking its best. Most common garden plants prefer an average of 1 inch of water a week. It is best to apply that inch all at once to encourage plant roots to sink down more deeply in the soil. This enables more hardy growth. When watering, apply water directly to the ground rather than getting a plant’s foliage wet; water sitting on the leaves can lead to disease. Soaker hoses can be very effective for this purpose.
Cutting Away At Dead Ends
Time for cutbacks? Maybe so if we are speaking of faded blooms from the spring season. Remove spent blooms from many of your annuals and perennials. This can lead to you seeing more flowers. This is called deadheading, and the process prevents plants from producing seeds so they put more energy into beautiful blooms. Some plants can self-seed to the point of being weedy in the garden. This is yet another case of less being more.
Getting Rid of Weeds
Summer is always a time of rapid plant growth, and that growth does not discriminate; so we sometimes have to, at least when it comes to weeds. Many pesky weeds love summer heat and quickly take the jump from tiny to gigantic. It is very important to pull them from your garden as weeds steal moisture and nutrients from your plants. Many types of weeds also encourage insect pests and diseases to pop up in your garden. Weeds can take over your yard and garden very rapidly in the summer.
Mulching Your Landscape
Mulching is a good idea all year-round. One of the best things you can do for your flower beds is to put down a 2-3″ layer of good-quality mulch. This will go a long way to reducing the number of weeds that pop up in your gardens. However, mulching does a lot more than just keep weeds down. It also reduces water loss from the soil, helps maintain constant soil temperature, and gives your gardens a neat and finished look.
Looking for Signs of Disease and Insect Damage
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the plant grow stronger. At least that is the case when it comes to summer yard and garden pests. In your garden and yard, be sure to watch for signs of disease and insect damage. Catching problems early can make a big difference in being able to control pests and diseases before they have a chance to cause major destruction. Soonest begun, soonest done. Because insects and disease seem to be drawn to weak or stressed plants, the best way to reduce your chances of an infestation is to promote healthy, happy plants. Like weeding and keeping an eye on pests and diseases in your yard should be done all year round; however, midsummer seems to be particularly popular for these gardening obstacles.
Cover All Your Bases
Small to medium-sized plants need special care in the summer, and so do your big plants. Your trees are usually the most prominent feature in your yard and can make or break the good appearance of your property. Remember to inspect your landscape. Check your trees for damage or warning signs, specifically insect infestations and diseases. Also, it may be time for some tree trimming and pruning. Pruning often results in some of the most successful tree care programs. Finally, with hurricane season and our usual strong summer storms on the way, it’s best if you’re proactive! You can cable, brace, or remove weak tree limbs before the storm comes.