Summer is such a delightful season, the sun filters through the trees whilst bees dance from flower to flower. Picture perfect trees sway in the gentle summer breeze whilst the avid gardener decides to do a little summer gardening. Yet gardens needs much more than a little weeding and watering, one will need to do some garden maintenance. Read on to learn how to keep your garden in top condition through the hot days of summer.
Beware of insects such as aphids and white flies:
These garden pests are a gardener’s worst nightmare. As plants grow larger, they often have less circulation between them and this seems to beckon aphids and white flies. The best way of preventing infestation is to spray the upper as well as the lower leaves with Pyola Insect Spray. This all natural spray kills a host of other insects such as harvester ants, caterpillars, gypsy moth, spider mites, scale insects and sawfly larvae. For any soft bodied insects use 2 teaspoons per quart of water. But do not use this if the temperature is higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use this right up to the day of harvest if used on fruit and vegetables.
Prune back the rose bushes after the first summer bloom:
You can do a major cut back which won’t hurt the rose bush or simply dead-head them, the choice is yours. This will give them extra strength in the stems as well as keep them under control. If any branches are weak or dead, cut them back. Black spot is very common so keep a look out for this. You can treat this with a home-made formula made from 1 teaspoon of baking soda and ¼ teaspoon of dishwashing liquid mixed with a gallon of water. Spray this liberally on the affected plants, on top of and beneath the leaves. Fortunately pruning is like a haircut, if you cut too much back it will regrow.
Prune all spring blooming bushes:
Spring blooming bushes such as azalea, lilacs and rhododendrons will need to be pruned by mid-summer. This will enable ensure new growth for the following spring. The flowers will no doubt be more abundant the following year if you do this now.
Pinch back all fall and summer perennials:
Pinching back all fall and summer perennials will ensure they stay healthy and bushy. But that’s not all, it will stagger blooming times and that will be an asset indeed. Pinching back perennials is somewhat like cutting back, however only a small amount of the plant is removed. One only removes the growing tips and first set of leaves when pinching. Use your fingernails and pinch the stem just above the node. This helps better the plant’s growth habit and can also be used to stagger bloom time.
Avoid watering plants in the evening:
Summer brings some high humidity days; these can result in a load of problems in the garden if you are a novice gardener. Plants need to be tucked in for the night, in other words keep them dry. Watering in the evening can initiate fungal problems.
Check plants for powdery mildew:
Powdery mildew is a very common fungus which is notorious for affecting ornamental plants. One will note what appears to be a powdery film on the plants, somewhat like fine dust particles only white. Sand cherry and Dogwoods are prone to this fungal infection. Treat with milk or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Simply mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with 2 12 teaspoons vegetable oil with a gallon of water. Agitate for a few minutes then add ½ teaspoon pure soap flakes, agitate again then use as a spray. Keep agitating the mixture whilst in use so the ingredients do not separate. Spray upper and lower leaf surfaces. Repeat every 5-7 days until the mildew is gone. Milk spray can be made from a 50/50 mixture of milk and water, drench the plants very 3-4 days.
Water your plants in the early-morning hours.
Water your plants in the early morning hours prior to sunrise to prevent evaporation loss as well as summer daytime winds. Dehydration is a plant killer, by watering prior to sunrise; the plants have a better chance of soaking up much needed water.
Remember that shaded plants won’t need quite as much water than other zones in your garden. You may need to water less so that the plants don’t end up mouldy. Check the dampness of the soil to determine how much water the plants need.
Select plants low maintenance plants:
Humid summer days can kill a host of plants so choose plants which are native to the area. There are vast arrays of low maintenance plants which are vibrant and colourful. These will have your garden looking so lovely during the warm days of summer. Remember that warm-season grasses and Bermuda grass need approximately 1- thirds less water than Tall Fescue grass.
Check plants for leaf scorching/burning:
The hot sun can have plants stressed and lead to leaf scorching/burning. One needs to check that they are fertilizing plants correctly and watering the plants often enough as well. Water deeply and infrequently. This will allow more oxygen into the soil which will wash away excessive deposits of salt which leads to leaf scorching and burning at times.
As one can see, garden maintenance is imperative. Do some more research online or purchase some gardening books and learn more about garden maintenance tips for summer.