Getting our plants through the heat.
Once the calendar flips over to August our minds automatically shoots forward to Fall. We start getting into the mindset of cooler mornings and shorter days. Unfortunately, if we let those thoughts affect how we treat our landscapes we could be short changing the needs of our plants. This is because the first two weeks of August compete for the highest average temperatures we experience here in Southeast Idaho. If we can keep our landscapes happy and healthy through the last two weeks in July and the first two weeks in August we put ourselves in a pretty secure position going into the fall.
There are at least 3 things we can focus on to accomplish this: Nobody will be surprised that the first thing is to get our watering done correctly. We need to remember that the key to successful drought tolerance is long and deep. (This can be tricky if you have very sandy soil or plants in containers) Long, slow watering will penetrate deeper into the soil than watering frequently for less time. This is due to the fact that the water has time to soak down through the root zone instead of simply running off along the surface of the soil. The best time to accomplish this watering is early in the morning to avoid evaporation.
Another really helpful thing we can do is apply a good layer of mulch around our plants root zones. A 2-3 inch layer of mulch helps retain moisture and nutrients in the area our plants need it the most. It also acts to reduce temperature variations throughout hot and cold days. Not to mention it has the added benefit of making the landscape look polished.
The third thing we can do is minimize the stress we put onto our plants. This means avoiding things like transplanting, heavy fertilizers and major trimming. One of the most stressful things we can do to a plant is move it. This is because even correct transplanting causes some root loss and root loss means the plant has less ability to provide for itself. Heavy fertilizers without enough water can cause burnout. Fertilizer is a form of salt, salt has been used as a preservative in meats due to the fact that it replaces water. Plants do need fertilizers to grow but when applied without the proper watering it can be more harmful than helpful.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the ways we can help our plants through the next couple of weeks but we hope it will get you started. If you’re not sure what is going on in your landscape please feel free to give our office a call at (208) 523-5296!