Holy heatwave Batman! I am spending my mornings watering my newly grafted baby apple trees and then once I’m done…I go to work and then help water the nursery.
With such a huge amount of stuff to water it drives us to become crazed scientists…one of our very own fearless horticulturalists built a pretty awesome watering tower using zap straps, bulb crates and a plastic dollar store spinning sprinkler.
We have a lot of customers coming in to get mulch to keep in the moisture and keep down the weeds. Living mulches like grasses, perennials, groundcovers are also a fantastic way to keep the moisture in. A living mulch will conserve much much much more water than it draws. For example, the section of my orchard that had a cover crop of clover, yarrow and a few other wild flowers and grasses did far better and required much less watering (actually only twice last summer), than the section without any cover(casualties…in spite of extra watering).
We have our work cut out for us on the West Coast…we need water plants in the winter and drought tolerant plants in the summer! Here is your list for June 2015!
Watering restrictions are in effect so check with your municipality. Use the tuna can method if you want to see how well your sprinkler is working. Place an empty tuna can on the lawn when you sprinkle. You need only about the depth of a tuna can (no not Costco sized mega cans) once per week. Watering is more effective if applied in the morning, not the heat of the day. If you have applied nematodes for European Chafer Beetle or have installed new lawns you can apply for an extra permit…you’ll need receipts to apply so don’t put them in your pocket and then wash your shorts…just sayin’.
Mulch, mulch and mulch. Weeding just got easier. Use a scuffle hoe in the morning and scuffle up your garden beds. Your weeds will be roasted by mid-day. Dead head and pinch back as needed and don’t forget to water and fertilize. You always add a few plants as long as you keep the moisture on. A liquid transplant fertilizer is good too. At this time of year there will not be much root growth in trees and shrubs but there will be some, much more so in perennials and annuals.
I have heard a lot of folks say to sink your pot in the ground and then plant in fall. It is better to have your plant in the ground without the pot for watering if you are careful not to disturb the roots. A plastic pot will restrict absorption unless you are really diligent at aiming your water directly down on the plant in question.
Baskets and Planters
No its not too late! I think I am likely one of the slowest to do up my planters…I’ll get to it sometime this week…I hope! Keep fertilizing, watering and dead heading. If your hanging basket has dried out and the water is just running down the sides and out the bottom, take it down and set it in a tray of water until it absorbs the water and reactivates the soil to hold moisture.
Trees and Shrubs
Enjoy and appreciate the shade. If you do add new to your garden at this time, make sure you are watering it deeply 3-4 times per week if it is hot. I had a customer come in with a question about ants climbing up his apple tree. I told him that ants…among other things are farmers. One of the things they like to farm is aphids. They like to carry them up and place them on young leaves and then farm the sticky sap that aphids produce or poop out. Yup…poop farmers. Bugs are great aren’t they?! Anyway this will not kill your apple tree. You can let them get a couple of crops off their aphids and the aphids might knock off a couple of your leaves if you are feeling magnanimous, or you can just spray off the aphids with the hose and wreck their harvest…they’ll usually move on after a try or two.
Keep them hydrated, weeded and fertilized. We still have lots of veggies if you have a spot or two opened up after harvesting. Oh…enjoy those sweet sweet strawberries if you have planted some and get to your local farm gate for u-pick if you haven’t. Fruit will be early this year so be ready.
Ponds, Water bowls and Water Features
Don’t forget to fill as needed, your water levels will drop a lot on hot and windy days. Maintain about 75 percent coverage with floaters to avoid hair algae.
Garden Accessory Must Haves…
Hammock and hammock chair. I just have to figure out where to put the hammock chair. We have one at the nursery behind the wheelhouse all set up. If you come to the nursery and you can’t find me…I might just be having my break in the hammock chair…perfect for reading my stack of summer books. That should keep you busy for now…take time to smell the flowers and check out some of our local farms, it’s a lot of fun…and tasty too !