Do you fidget, walk around your property, and feel guilty about not having any gardening tasks to do in the middle of summer? There’s no reason to; you should be doing nothing right now. It’s summer; you’ve done all you can to give your landscape tender, loving care. Now it’s time to enjoy it.
Take a page from southern gardeners. Slow down and smell the roses, or any other flower that’s in bloom right now. Summer is the time to sit outside with a cool lemonade and just enjoy the results of your work.
Plants shouldn’t be fertilized in the summer, so you can’t do that. The only thing we recommend at this time is to deadhead spent flowers and help Mother Nature provide sufficient water for your plants. If we have more than a week without rain, your plants may need water. They need an inch a week, and it’s best for them to get it all at once. You may also need to weed your planting beds.
With the cost of water these days, you may want to prioritize. Water those plants with droopy, curled leaves that look like they need watering first. Then prioritize according to value. Young trees may need water but most mature trees don’t. Their root structure is sufficient to find water. Shrubs are valuable so they should be second on your priority list, followed by perennials.
Annuals should be low priority since they’re inexpensive and may be changed out several times a year anyway. Turfgrass turns brown because it has the ability to go dormant under extremely hot, dry conditions and then green up again in the fall when cooler weather and rain return. It doesn’t appear that we have to worry about that this year.
Trees, shrubs and perennials are best watered with drip irrigation, rather than spraying. A significant amount of sprayed water evaporates before it reaches the plants. If you have an irrigation system, ask your irrigation contractor to install drip emitters for your trees, shrubs and perennials. If you use a hose, invest in soaker hoses and snake them around the plants you want to water. Soaker hoses are made from recycled tires, so you’ll be helping the environment as well as your plants. You will also be saving on water since you only open the tap a quarter turn.
While sitting on the deck or patio enjoying your landscape, you may want to read a book on how you can enjoy more time like this and less maintaining the garden. I’ve written about Slow Gardening by Mississippi garden writer Felder Rushing, and I just heard about a new book, entitled Gardening from a Hammock by Canadian garden writer Dan Cooper. I haven’t read the latter book yet, so I can’t vouch for it.
Take my advice and enjoy your garden without fretting. It’ll show your kids or grandkids that gardening really isn’t as much work as they’ve been led to believe. Sometimes you can just relax and survey your work.