Here are a few pointers on how to keep your gardens and landscapes looking their best from now through August.
Once you have established your garden, then begins the challenge of keeping things alive through good watering practices while
keeping away annoying weeds.
The practice of mulching will have the most impact on water conservation practices by retaining water and cooling the soil. It is
also the best way to get a head start on controlling weeds.
Mulches come in many types and colors. Pine bark, cedar, rubber and even rock are available. Remember to choose those that blend in
aesthetically with the environment.
Watering the lawn and garden prior to and just after sunrise is best. During this time, the temperature and wind are at their
lowest. Remember to begin irrigation at the first sign of moisture stress in lawns, landscape plants or the vegetable garden.
Be observant for dull, gray green-colored leaf blades rolling up or perhaps footprints left on the lawn after you have walked
across it as these may be signs of drought stress.
Water as soon as possible with 1 inch of water during any irrigation so that it reaches 6 inches deep in clay soil and about 12
inches in sandy soil.
Drip irrigation should run for much longer periods than sprinkler irrigation. With proper drip irrigation, 1 gallon of water per
hour for two to three hours should be sufficient for flower or vegetable gardens and lawns. Monitor daily and when in doubt,
observe the plants; they will signal you.
If you don’t currently use drip irrigation, make a commitment to set up one flower or garden bed this summer. Drip systems
significantly reduce water use and should be the standard whenever possible for all your landscape and garden plantings.
Plant, lawn care
If you are like me in the sense that your plants and lawn are a source of pride and joy, then inspect them often for any signs or
symptoms of stress. Many of the symptoms we see such as discoloration, brown spots or dying leaves can be misdiagnosed as insects
or plant disease.
Don’t ever turn to pesticides before correctly diagnosing the problem. About 75 percent of plant problems occurring at this time of
the year are due to heat and drought stress.
Be on the lookout for damage in lawns from fire ants or chinch bugs that generally appear first in the hottest areas along
driveways or sidewalks. These can be controlled relatively easily with proper diagnosing and by using organic or chemical