I think we are all pretty tired of this extreme heat and lack of rain. Every gardener that I know, feels as if their hoses might as well be permanently attached to their arms! I know I do. I can't remember when I have seen so many brown lawns and plants. Even the Missouri native plants are stressed.
Here are a few tips to get your gardens and yards through this heat:
- Keep your lawn mower on the highest setting. Make sure to not cut the grass shorter than 3" to 3-1/2." This is very important as it will help keep your lawn from burning.
- Containers are drying out extremely fast. They will need to be watered once or twice daily.
- Water longer and less frequently. Deep watering helps to develp strong roots. Under normal conditions, once a week is adequate. During this type of heat and drought, every three days may be preferable.
- Most plants need 1" of water a week to survive (roses are happiest with 5"). Use rain gauges to make sure you are watering deeply enough. Even though it is recommended to water in the morning or evening, water when you can.
- When watering trees and shrubs, soak the root area with a slow but thorough watering. If is extremely important to stay on top of watering newly planted trees and shrubs until they are established (first two years). There are bags/gators available that you surround the base of the tree/shrub that you fill with water. It releases water slowly, but regularly. This is a great way to make sure your new plants are getting properly watered. Soaker hoses are another great way to water. Be aware that an oscillating sprinkler may not reach the root area.
- A thick layer of bark mulch (2" - 4") helps to keep the water from evaporating and reduces the amount of weeds.
- Organic fertilizers may be used every two weeks. The organics are non-burning (especially important in the hot weather!) and add many of the minerals that get washed out by daily watering.
- There are products on the market designed to use in containers and potted plants that help keep the moisture in for up to two weeks when on vacation. These are a natural anti-drought plant treatment.
- Clean and fill bird baths daily. Remember they are thirsty too and they eat many harmful insects that like to eat your plants!
Hopefully these tips will help you keep your plants and lawns a bit greener! For other timely gardening tips, please click here.