The dog days of summer are here. We have already had days of 100-degree weather, and maintaining the garden gets more challenging. To conserve water, it is time to consider if some potted plants and annuals should be discarded.
Lawns take most of our water usage. To determine how often to water grasses, walk across the lawn in early morning, and if you can look back and see your footprint, it is time to water. About one inch of water is enough to maintain most grasses. Put a tuna can or similar container where the sprinkler spray hits, and when the water is one inch deep, turn it off. Many container plants will wilt and show signs of stress in the afternoon but only water them when they are wilted in the cooler morning air.
August is a good time to trim evergreen shrubs and perennials to keep them in bounds. Trim roses back by one-fourth to bush out, and, in the case of repeat bloomers, have more fall flowers. DO NOT trim climbing roses now. They bloom on “old wood” and should be trimmed only after they bloom in the spring.
- Continue to add mulch to flower beds to conserve water and keep plant roots cool. Maintain a depth of 3 to 5 inches.
- Fertilize flower beds and lawns with an organic fertilizer if it has been more than 3 months since the last application.
- Fire ants have not been much of a problem this year but may come back when it rains. If they do, drench the mound with a mixture of 2 ounces of orange oil and a tablespoon of molasses in a gallon of water. Orange oil can be found at most good nurseries.
- For a fall flower show, plant seeds of zinnias, bachelor buttons and marigolds in sunny areas.
A used but usable garden hose is needed for the neighborhood tree project. If you have one to donate, please call and leave your name and number at the KWA office for pickup.
Garden Note: As the garden grows, so does the gardener.