Mark Cullen on caring for gardens during a heat wave
Published Wednesday, July 18, 2012 7:32AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 18, 2012 8:05AM EDT
As most of the country plunges into the depth of a rather predictable summer drought, there is no reason to panic where the garden is concerned. There are a few tactics that you can use to minimize the effects of heat and drought on your garden, but for the most part, it is important to relax.
Lawns will perform well come mid-August. But for now ,do not water or fertilize your lawn. When evening temperatures drop and the dew increases, your lawn will wake up from summer dormancy and look great come mid-September.
Perennials and annuals like to get dry for a short stretch, but they do require some watering in drastic heat and drought. You will know when flowering plants need water when their leaves start to droop. At that point, a deep watering is needed to drive the roots deep and to help plants build a resistance to drought in the future. The worst thing to do is to stand at the end of a hose and “sprinkle” your garden with water.
Move containers into a shady spot if possible. Water them well when the soil is dry to 3 cm below the surface. Try to water in the evening so that the liquid is thoroughly absorbed into the soil around the roots of each plant.
Soaker hoses and rain barrels are terrific tools in hot, dry weather. They also provide efficient methods of applying water to your garden without waste.