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Hot Weather Maintenance - July 6th, 2020


The summer high temperatures and hot sun can be tough on newly planted shrubs, vegetable gardens, and flowers unless they are properly maintained.


Make certain, first that your shrubs and trees are planted in the proper environment. Some will like full shade, some partial shade to light sun, and some thrive in full sun. Azaleas, for example, like morning sun and afternoon shade. They may live-in all-day sun but they will not be happy. Plant them in full sun and then put gravel around the base and they will likely be dead in two years. The heat will burn the roots up. On the other hand, Japanese holly planted in this same environment will thrive. They like the heat.


Newly planted shrubs and trees should have a two to three-inch layer of mulch, no more, around their base. This holds in moisture and keeps the roots cool. Most shrubs and trees need to be gently soaked every week to ten days to the bottom of the root ball. A five-minute blast of water is a waste of time and water. Usually, it is only necessary to water shrubs and trees through the first growing season.


Vegetable gardens planted in the ground normally do not need a lot of supplemental watering. Mother Nature usually provides for their needs. I was in a garden this past weekend that was beautiful. Lush and green and has only received rain water. It will not be watered this season. Too much water creates lots of foliage growth which only helps to limit the amount of produce produced. Once the vegetables are up and growing fertilization and extra water should be limited. Flowers planted in the ground would be grown in this same manner.


Flowers and vegetables planted in containers are a different story. Make sure your containers are placed in the proper spots according to the plants in the containers. Container plantings in shade may only need water once a week, certainly no more than twice a week. Containers that have plants that perform well in full sun will want to be watered daily. Let me inject here that a raised bed is nothing more than a large container and should be treated as such.


On days such as the day I am writing this, 90 degrees at one o’clock, you will see many of your flowers and vegetables withered. This does not mean they need to be watered. Plants wither as a means of protecting themselves from the heat. If you come out of the house at six the next morning and the plants are still withered then you might need to grab the hose and give them a good soaking.


One last tip. When you water, try to water under the leaves. Try not to wet the leaves. Plants in general do not like wet leaves. If the leaves stay wet long it may produce rot and fungus diseases. Holes in plant leaves are usually caused by water standing on the leaves.


Just a few tips that I hope will help to save you some work over the summer and allow you to enjoy your flowers and garden.


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