I, for one, cannot believe it is the first of June already. This year is really flying by. This is the month for picnics, vacations, family reunions, and for just enjoying the outdoors in general. One of the tasks to take care of this month is weeding. If you put a pre-emergent weed control product in your landscape beds in March or April, you are due for a second application now. There are two reasons for this. First, most of the pre-emergent products that are available to the homeowner have a short life span, up to 60 days. The second reason is due to all of the rain we have had. However, there are many benefits to the very adequate rainfalls this year. One of them is the ease with which some normally difficult weeds can be pulled. So take time to clean up your landscape beds and apply a pre-emergent as soon as possible.
The long hot days of summer are stressful to every living creature, including all your plants. If you are tired of the endless task of keeping your plants watered, it is time to think about adding mulch to your beds.
I know that hotter weather is just ahead, so do yourself and your plantings a huge favor and apply mulch. If you have beds that have never been mulched, add 3” around all annuals, perennials, roses, trees and shrubs. Top dress previously mulched beds with an additional inch of fresh mulch. Not only does mulch hold in moisture, relieving you of some of your watering tasks, it also keeps the soil cooler, so your plants will be less heat-stressed. An added bonus is that weed seeds have a difficult time germinating when buried in mulch, reducing the time you spend weeding.
One of the most common questions that we receive at this time of year is, “How much do I water my ______?” I will try to explain some basic guidelines here:
Vegetables and Bedding Plants planted in the ground: established plants need at least one inch of water per week, more when bearing fruit. Check the soil around the plants, when it is dry one inch down, it’s time to water.
Container Gardens and Hanging Baskets: check your containers every day for water. Either test the soil by touch or lift the pot to check its weight. Most baskets and many containers will need to be watered once, or even twice a day, depending on the weather. I suggest you fertilize once a week.
Perennials: newly planted perennials need daily watering until established, at least one to two weeks, depending on weather. After they show signs of new growth, apply a one inch per week rule.
Trees and Shrubs: newly planted trees and shrubs should be watered every 4-5 days for the entire first year after planting, unless rainfall is abundant. Place the end of your hose next to the base of the plant and let the water trickle very slowly for about two hours. This will allow the root zone to become thoroughly saturated.
Established Lawns: your lawn should be watered when the grass blades don’t bounce back after being walked on. One inch of water per week should keep your lawn green and healthy. It is best to water early in the morning, before the heat of the day. This keeps evaporation to a minimum, and allows plenty of time for the grass to dry before nightfall, which will help prevent fungus problems.
Newly Seeded or Sodded Lawns: for better germination, I suggest you mulch grass seed with straw as soon as it is planted. Once seed has germinated or sod has been laid, they must not be allowed to dry out. Water daily with a sprinkler until there is good growth. Early morning is again the best time. Once established, go back to the one inch per week rule.
Water Gardens: also require an occasional addition of water. Check your pond weekly and add water as needed. Water plants have variable depth requirements, so you need to keep the water levels consistent.
So continue to enjoy your outdoor spaces and make relationships with your plants! They can give you so much in return!
See you in the Garden,
Sandi Hillermann McDonald