Summer Garden Checklist
With summer in full swing, we at Decker’s wanted to share a few timely tips and techniques to keep your garden looking great and enhancing your enjoyment of the garden that you have taken the time to create.
Spreading a 1-2” layer of mulch over the soil in your garden is one of the best things you can do. Not only will the mulch be aesthetically pleasing to the eye but it also has true benefits to the garden that go way beyond looking good. A layer of mulch in the garden covers the soil, shielding it from the summer sun. This keeps the soil cooler; so your plants are happier; and at the same time helps retain moisture and prevent evaporation.
While there is not a single best type of mulch; anything made of organic matter such as shredded wood, grass clippings, shredded leaves, etc. will provide not only the initial benefit of moisture retention but also the long term benefit of adding organic matter back into your soil as they decompose.
It is important to note that mulch should be kept 4”-6” away from the stems of plants as well as the trunk of trees. Adding mulch to your garden may require some additional watering as the water added to the garden must work its way through the layer of mulch into the soil where the plant’s roots are.
There are many pesky weeds that love the summer heat and can quickly pop up and take over the garden. If allowed to remain not only will the weeds steal moisture from the desirable plants in the garden but if allowed to go to seed will greatly increase the future weeding you’ll have to do. For example, a single dandelion can product 2,000 seeds in a year (that’s a lot of future dandelions to deal with).
Weeds are best pulled when they are young and small; they also come out of the ground easiest when the soil is moist. Decker’s also offers solutions (both conventional and organic options) for larger areas where pulling weeds is unrealistic.
Add More Color To Your Garden
Once the summer heat arrives, most spring blooming flowers such as pansy, viola, and dianthus, to name a few, will fade. Replacing them with heat –loving varieties such as Angelonia, Lantana, Zinnias, Sunpatiens, etc. will help provide a beautiful summer burst of color.
Don’t forget to add some summer blooming perennials while you’re at it. Black-Eyed Susan, Coneflower, Phlox, Agastache, Daylilies, and many more varieties are perfect summer additions to the garden.
Remove Faded Flowers
Remove the spent blooms from many annuals and perennials (called deadheading), and you’ll encourage more flowers. This process prevents the plants from producing seeds so they put more energy into beautiful flowers.
Your annuals, perennials, and roses have been working hard to produce beautiful blooms during the spring and early summer. Give them a helping hand by fertilizing so they can continue to thrive and bloom in the garden. Flowering plants especially use the nutrients in the soil to produce their bountiful blooms; by adding fertilizer you will replenish the nutrients the plants need to continue to thrive.
Annuals in containers, (including Hanging Baskets), are also going to want a replenishment. Plants in containers only get what you put in as their roots are contained in the pots and cannot spread out and go looking in the surrounding soil for additional nutrients. Liquid fertilizers such as Espoma ‘Bloom’ are perfectly suited to help your flowering annuals continue to produce gorgeous blooms all summer.
During the summer heat, watering is a key component of a healthy garden. A good thorough watering several times a week is more effective than small waterings daily. Deeper, less frequent waterings encourage plant roots to sink deeper into the soil looking for moisture and thusly create a more drought tolerant garden. Please note that you may have to water more or less often depending upon what Mother Nature throws our way in terms of prolonged heat and/or significant rainfall.
Raise Your Mower Blade
If you have cool season- season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, Ryegrass, or Fescues; the more leaf surface the grass has the healthier your lawn will be during the hot, dry weather. A taller grass will also aid in weed prevention as the sun will not get down to the soil as easily where the weed seeds are and thusly prevent some weed germination from occurring.
Decker's Nursery is aiming to be THE horticultural resource center on Long Island. To that end, we're always happy to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to drop a comment below or stop by the store any time to chat with our experts. We're here to help educate and inform.