The lack of rain is on everyone’s mind this summer and not surprisingly watering is on the top of my to-do list! With watering, timing and duration mean everything. It is better to water in the morning and water deeply and less frequently.
Mulch is a great way to maintain moisture in a garden. Remember when mulching around trees go no deeper than 3 inches, less for shrubs and much less for perennials and grasses. Keep in mind that wood mulch draws nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes so especially with smaller shrubs or perennials remember to fertilize your plants with a little fertilizer containing nitrogen to account for the nitrogen draw.
A temporary mulch I have had great success using on my veggie garden is straw. Especially when I have vacation planned I find the water savings overrule the increase in weeds from dropped seeds. I apply the straw approximately 6 inches deep, lower around new seedlings. So check your local watering regulations, keep calm, keep cool and keep hydrating.
One way to keep is cool is to create more shade. we've just started carrying a fantastic line of Shade Sails. Attractive, durable and easy to install. These colourful sails will add shade to any area of your patio, garden or landscape (as long as you have something to mount them to!).
Trees, yes they will need water as well. Be patient, bring a book or a lawn chair or you can purchase or pick up a Treegator watering bag from Arts Nursery or you can pick up from some municipalities. Depending on how well draining your soil is your trees will need approximately 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter per week and this will take time.
Towards the end of this month you can do a basic thinning of fruit trees or Japanese maples, or other smaller trees if needed. Make sure you do any pruning outside the branch bark ridge or collar. You can check the International Society of Arboriculture’s website for help. My rule of thumb is to not remove any branches thicker than your thumb at this time and no more than ¼ for the total canopy…sometimes that is just one cut!
Veggie and Flower Gardens
Water, weed and mulch is the order of the day. Plants are coming into bloom and finishing sooner than they would normally, deadhead, pinch back and try to encourage that second flush of blooms so our pollinators have something at the end of the summer!!
Remember when cultivating or scuffling the soil of your garden to watch for our native bees, we have over 500 native bees here and most of them live in solitary nesting holes in sandy south facing soil. If you see some little holes, perhaps leave that area alone, they are not territorial and most don’t sting, but the little guys need all the help they can get these days.
Keep your birdbaths and water bowls filled and yes, you can also fill a bowl with small stones and then add water to the edges of the stones to make a watering bowl for the bees and yes…gasp the wasps. Many of those are pollinators too…seriously and don’t roll your eyes at me. If you find yourself with gaps in the flower or veggie garden we have a great mix of replacements including a number of drought tolerant options!
Hanging Baskets and Planters
When feeding your plants make sure you water first…then feed. If you don’t, it’s just like taking a huge sip of your Mojito without first stirring it. Your first sip is all rum…meh. If your basket has dried out or is very light or you asked your kids to water while they were texting and they didn’t hear you, take them down and place them in a tray of water and clip back the browned bits and let them sit until the pot feels heavy. Some of the potting mixes become hydrophobic once they dry out and need to be soaked to activate them again. You can even use a product like Soil Moist in your basket to store and release water as it is needed.
Don’t forget to top up the water as you will be losing a lot of it through evaporation. To help combat that, as well as algae, remember to pick up some floating oxygenators. If 75-80% of the surface is covered with lilies or oxygenators you will have clearer, cooler water.
Your lawns are supposed to look golden brown at this time of year! Your local watering restrictions likely have you down to 1 watering per week, which in most cases will be enough to keep your lawn alive until Fall. Water in the morning and use the tuna can method to measure the 1 inch of water your lawn needs. Make sure your sprinklers are efficient and delivering water to the right place. Don't waste! If you decide to conserve water, but still like the green look, we have LawnLift, a non-toxic lawn paint!! It actually works quite well.
We have had a lot of folks through with infestations of aphids on the new growth of their tender shrubs. When you see them you can simply hose them off with a good stream of water from the hose. If they are a repeat problem you might like to use ladybugs…aphids are their favorite thing to eat…like me and chocolate cake !! We have bags of ladybugs ready to go.
Be sure to release them in the evening and give them a bit of a misting of 1:1 solution of sugary pop and water. It temporarily grounds them and prevents them from migrating…which is the first thing they like to do when they get out of the bag. By the time their wings unstick…they have found a great source of food which you have so graciously provided and stick around!
That should do for now, pop by and say hi and go for a look see in one of our golf carts. We have a lovely mix of plants, including lots of new ones, and awesome garden designers! You might just get an idea or two!