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Prepare Your Landscape For The Dog Days Of Summer

July and August are called the dog days of summer for a reason. Many people like to lie down and sleep on a hot afternoon, just like a dog does. Kind of lazy like. Well if you and your dog feel lazy and just want to be left alone, what makes you think your landscape plants want to be pampered on hot days?

I recommend that you get everything done now and then just sit back and take in the beauty. One thing you can do is make sure your plants have sufficient water. They like an inch a week. If you don’t have an irrigation system, you could set up a network of soaker hoses. Then you’ll be ready to water them, if need be. All you’ll have to do is turn the spigot(s) on a quarter turn. Turning them on any further can cause the soaker hoses to burst.

You may have to prioritize to keep your water bill from going through the roof. I recommend placing young and newly planted trees and shrubs at the top of the list, followed by perennials. Losing these plants will result in the greatest financial loss. Watering annuals depends on your budget and ambition. If they should be changed out soon, don’t bother. Let them run their natural course and then change them out and keep the fresh plants watered.

Watering your lawn is costly and time consuming. Nature has equipped turf with a defense mechanism. Lawns go dormant when it’s hot and dry. That’s why the grass turns brown. When the temperatures cool and the rain returns, it will green up again. Caution 1: Avoid walking on the brown grass. You’ll break the blades and leave unsightly footprints. And, if you shouldn’t walk on dormant grass, you certainly shouldn’t mow. Caution 2: Be sure you fertilize now if your lawn needs a late spring fertilization. Fertilizing during the dog days can burn the grass when it’s dormant.

One task you can do all summer is deadhead your flowers. Deadheading is removing spent flowers before they go to seed. This enables the plant to redirect its energy to producing another flush of flowers, rather than dropping seeds. Also, make sure all your plants are well mulched. Mulch moderates soil temperatures, cooling it in summer and warming it in winter.If you really feel ambitious, you might consider building paths, if you don’t already have them, so you can walk through your landscape without having to walk through your planting beds or across your lawn. 

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