Jon's Summer Watering Guide

Summer Watering Guide

The beauty of summer flowers has arrived. The purples, pinks, reds, yellows, and whites of summer containers are bursting open and providing the extra blast of color. Summer Beauty Allium is in full pale purple flower and Black-Eyed Susan is vibrant and abundant. The Hydrangeas are blooming so intensely they are flopping over under the weight of their blooms. The humidity is high and the temperatures are even higher.

We were fortunate to experience the rain we saw in May and June as it gave our plants a healthy start to the year. However, as I feared, someone decided to turn off the tap and crank up the heat! On the plus side, it creates a pleasant situation as the roots of the plants chase the water down into the ground creating stronger and more drought tolerant root systems. The tough part comes with dry weather as Hydrangeas start to wilt and the grass is a less vibrant green. We also risk disease and insect pressure on plants and turf as they start to weaken and invite disease and insect infestation.

Most mature landscape plants find the nutrients necessary to survive in the mulch and soil organisms as well as the very slow release fertilizer we applied this past spring. Seasonal floral displays could use a bit of extra boost. We do fertilize them with a soluble flower feed every now and then throughout the season, but an extra shot here and there will not hurt. Most importantly for all of your plants, water!

What are we to do? I call it the astronaut’s dinner. Just add water and rehydrate! Especially during these hot summer periods, please give everything a little extra drink. People, pets, and plants will thank you each in their own way. Plants will reward you with a healthy bounty of flowers, texture, growth, and recovery. Keep your landscape healthy with regular waterings. Remember, low frequency, high duration. In other words, water less frequently (daily is definitely not necessary) and give those plants a nice long drink. Just like our intense spring rains, the water infiltrates the soil and allowing the soak cycle to dry a bit at the surface forces the roots to follow the water down, once again increasing drought-tolerance and creating healthy, strong, viable root systems.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to watering as conditions on every property vary from the front to the back, side to side, and everywhere in between. A good rule for this time of year is to water twice a week and water twice as long as you think you should. Soak and release. Let that water infiltrate to a good depth. Short infrequent watering’s only dampen the top 1-3 inches of soil and dries out quickly leaving the plants to search for water only in the upper soil level, incidentally, typically the hottest and driest part of the soil!

Enjoy the beauty of the season and keep your plants healthy with regular, infrequent, and long duration waterings. Your plants may not actually say, “thank you” out loud, but they will look great and they won’t talk back! Enjoy the bounty of the season and don’t hesitate to call us if we can help in any way!

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