Ooh Ooh Boys ~ It’s Hot!!!

In the dog days of summer, the flower beds may be looking a little tired. But a lot of flowers can get a second wind by following a few tips to keep them happy and blooming right up to the first freeze.

Drink please

Water evaporates quickly, especially during mid-day. Water lawns and flower beds early in the morning to give the moisture time to reach thirsty roots. If you can’t work that into your morning routine, go ahead and water in the very late afternoon or early evening. The hot sun of August will fry plants quickly if they don’t get the crucial water they need.

Don’t be a deadhead

You absolutely have to deadhead to extend the life of late-summer blooming perennials. As soon as the flowers fade, remove spent blooms. This will keep the plants from spending their energy on making seeds and it will instead use that energy to send out new buds as long as the weather permits.

Give the grass a break

By raising the cutting height on your lawnmower and keeping the blades of grass longer, you’ll help keep the roots cooler on hot summer days. Cut grass in the evening when it is cooler. By doing so, it will give the lawn time to recover and get ready for the heat of the next day.

Stay on top of it

Keep weeds at bay. It’s much easier to control weeds by pulling them out as soon as they appear than by tugging at them later after they’ve established a strong root system. Also, the ground will be more forgiving if you pull weeds after a good soaking.

Divide and conquer

Late summer is a good time to divide plants like peonies, day lilies, and iris once the flowers have stopped blooming. Divided plants are less likely to succumb to pests and diseases as well.

Sharpen your pruning skills

Just a few cuts to shape a rose bush, shrub, or tree will make a big difference in it’s overall look. You’ll be rewarded with more blooms and thicker, healthier foliage.  Keep suckers that spring from the base of a plant trimmed to prevent them from stunting the plant’s growth.

Convert clippings into mulch

As long as your grass clippings are free from weeds and seeds you can give your young plants a little TLC by mulching around the base.

Start composting

An alternative use for lawn clippings is to start a compost heap. Layer the clippings with soil and leftover vegetative waste from your kitchen. After a few months of decomposition, the matter will be transformed into nutrient-rich compost. Mix in with existing flowerbed soil for an extra boost.

Be a pest police

Keep on the lookout for damaging aphids. The tiny pests are easy enough to spray off with a hose if you catch them while their populations are small.

Seeds for Spring

When you’re taking a break, grab a glass of your favorite cold beverage and check out a seed catalog. It’s a great way to get inspiration for next spring’s beauties. Order seeds now so that you’ll have time to plant them before the first frost hits.

You’ve no doubt earned your share of summer relaxation, so be sure to take time to sit back, breathe, and take in the beautiful effects of your hard work. Just remember that investing a little time in pruning, planting, and planning now can pay off later with a fall harvest and spring color.

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