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Late Summer Garden Tips

Trying to survive multiple heat waves and dry spells can be stressful and exhausting.  At the garden center it feels like a constant battle between weeding and watering.  If only some of the plants in my yard could learn to adapt like those blasted weeds!  By August the evidence of a long, hot summer is apparent and we are all screaming for cooler days and longer nights.  Not to worry, pansies and pumpkin pies are in the near future.  Here are a few of our quick and easy tips to transition your garden from beach season to football season:

Water

After proper planting, water is critical for establishment of any plant.  Always water around the entire plant to distribute water evenly throughout the root ball.  Deep watering will encourage a stronger root system.  Water plants from underneath rather than above to keep the foliage dry and prevent disease.  Morning or evening watering is more beneficial and will lessen the rate of evaporation.

Perennial Plants

Deadheading your perennials during the hot summer months will encourage longer bloom time and help to keep foliage full and healthy throughout the season.  Some perennials just need to have spent blooms removed, whole others that have a heavy bloom all at once might do better with a short cutting back of all blooms (about 1/3 of the plant).

coneflower bee

Also remember that wilting perennials in the hot summer months doesn’t always mean they need more water.  High temps also cause plants to wilt.  So if you have recently watered and your perennials are wilting, be sure that you check the soil before watering again.  It is best to let the soil in your perennial garden get to the dry side before watering again as most perennials are not happy with continuously wet soil.

Annuals Flowers and Planters

You may see that some of the flowering annuals that you planted this Spring are now heavily rooted and thriving in the heat of summer.  Many tropical annuals love the long, hot days and really start to show off in August and September.  For example, have you driven by the front landscape at Fairview in late summer?  It’s absolutely bursting with color from our Fairview grown annuals  that were planted in early Spring.  These plants have been watered and fertilized regularly so that their roots are strong enough to handle the stresses of late summer.

roadside coleus

If you notice that some of your annual plants are not looking so stellar, you may be able to give them a healthy “hair cut” (pruning) in early August and allow them to have one more nice flush of new growth and blooms before fall.  Be sure to fertilize and water regularly to encourage this new growth.  If  your plants just need a general cleaning, then a light deadheading to get rid of any old or dead flowers that could create problems is a great step. By removing any old or dead flowers and leaves you greatly reduce the risk of fungus and diseases from occurring on your plants.

stressed growth

As the season progresses, plants in hanging baskets and containers often require more and more water.  This is because the roots continue to grow in limited space and take up much needed soil space for water retention.  Continue to water at least twice a day but if the watering gets too much, it may be time to replace.  Replace any dead or dying plants with fresh new ones that will really create a pop of color and show off the other plants in the container. Make sure to choose plants that can take the same amount of sunlight and water as the other plants that are already in the container. Then add some fresh soil around the roots of the new plants.

Beat the Bugs

On trees and shrubs, we have seen several species of aggravating insects this season including woolly alder aphid, mealybugs, spidermites, whitefly, scale and lots of bagworms.

On vegetables, we have seen the normal culprits like tomato hornworm, squash bugs and the dreaded potato beetle.  Ants have also been a problem in the veggie bed.  Study the list below for a few solutions for whatever is bugging you:

Solutions for trees, shrubs & flowers:

  • Bonide Sytstemic Insect Spraybayer rose
  • Bonide Systemic Soil Drench
  • Neem Oil
  • Bayer Rose & Flower
  • Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide Annual Tree & Shrub Insect Control

Solutions for Veggies:

  • Neem Oil
  • Bon-Neem Spray
  • Bayer Vegetable & Garden Spray
  • Bonide Eight Spray or Dust
  • Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brewcapt jacks
  • Diatenaceous Earth

Please give us a call or send us pics to info@fairviewgardencenter.com if you have any specific questions or concerns about your late season garden.