Source(s): Robert R Westerfield, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Extension Horticulturist
The summer heat makes it difficult to work outside for long. But some chores in your landscape need to be addressed to keep your plants attractive and healthy.
Probably the most critical detail right now is the effect of this summer’s recent record heat. Many plants can suffer from extended hot, dry conditions.
Allowing plants to get to the wilting point before watering may cause irreversible damage to some varieties, especially shallow-rooted annuals and perennials.
If water restrictions allow, give these plants a drink at night; or better, early in the morning to avoid the hottest part of the day and the greatest amount of evaporation.
Don’t forget to water your most prized trees as well. It’s easy to replace a $3 annual flower, but nearly impossible to restore a 50-year-old oak.
While walking around your landscape, continue to deadhead flowers of annuals and perennials. This will keep the plants from going to seed in some cases and help them initiate more blooms for the rest of the summer. Deadheading can also lessen the chances of disease and insect attack by removing potential infection sites – dead or decomposing flowerheads.
Check your roses carefully for signs of spidermite damage. Spidermites love the hot, dry weather and will take every opportunity to invade your roses. Keep spraying throughout the growing season with a combination fungicide, insecticide and miticide.
When you need to apply chemicals, do it either very early or very late in the day to avoid burn on the foliage from hot temperatures. Apply insecticides late in the day to avoid killing honeybees as they are usually more active in the early morning hours.
If weeds have been a problem in the flower beds, hand removal may be the best bet. It’s hard to kill mature weeds with chemicals. Spot treatments with a nonselective herbicide such as Roundup or glyphosate may be possible if you’re careful not to contact desirable plants.
Adding a new layer of mulch can go a long way, too, toward controlling unwanted weeds, as well as, helping to keep the soil evenly moist.
Take a close look at vigorously growing shrubs such as privet, hollies and ligustrum. They may need a trim to keep them in shape and away from your windows. Light pruning of the fast-growing shoots won’t harm the plant. And this type of pruning will give plants more compact form. Save heavy pruning, though, for late winter.
Remember to lightly fertilize annual flowers and roses each month. Water the fertilizer in thoroughly after applying to get the nutrients into the plants’ root zone. If you use a liquid fertilizer, read the directions carefully. And don’t apply liquid fertilizers on flowers or foliage during the heat of the day as burn may occur.
Begin soon to plan your fall landscape changes. Many catalogs require you to order now for a fall shipment. Look at the success of your existing landscape and ask yourself if you’re happy with the arrangement, spacing and color.
Draw out what changes you’ll make and begin to check on the availability of plants for this fall. Fall is the ideal time to plant most landscape plants.
When you’ve finished scouting and maintaining your landscape, kick off your shoes in the comfort of your air-conditioning. You’ll feel better knowing tha your landscape is healthy and ready to take on another hot summer day in Georgia.
Center Publication Number: 97