Summer is here, however, as I write, Kansas City will be experiencing record low temperatures, a summertime version of last winter's "Polar Vortex". When the heat does arrive, it can take a toll on your lawn and garden. So far this summer, Kansas City has been fortunate with rainfall, but we've been waiting for the other shoe to drop … and when it does, here are some helpful tips to get you through.
- Water … do it early in the morning. Plants will be more receptive in the coolness of the morning and there will be less evaporation. Try to avoid watering in the evening to prevent mold and fungus growth. Also, a deep, penetrating soaking is much more effective than surface watering which can create shallow root systems and can stress lawns and gardens in time of drought . A good rule of thumb is an inch of water a week.
- Mulch … this is a great way to keep plant roots cool during the heat of the day. Mulch is also an excellent way to retain moisture in the soil. There are a variety of mulches you can use such as grass clippings or chopped leaves. Some folks even use cardboard or newspaper, but I personally find it unattractive in the garden. The decorative wood mulches provide an attractive landscape and are effective in retaining moisture and preventing weeds. Also, as mulch decomposes it will add other beneficial nutrients to your soil.
- Deadheading … get the most out of your flowering plants by deadheading. You will extend your plant's life and allow it to produce more flowers all summer long. So, after the blooms have died and faded, simply pinch or snip the dead blooms off the plant. If done daily, it won't take any time at all.
- Mowing … raise the cutting height on you mower to its highest level, no shorter than 3-1/2". Taller grass is more drought resistant and will grow deeper roots which are able to handle stress better. Mow regularly and don't wait till your grass gets too high because the clippings can smother your grass. An industry standard is not to cut more than 1/3 of the grass blades. As you do this, don't bag them. Let the clippings fall back onto the lawn for added nutrients. Also, don't mow in the heat of the day as the heat can burn your lawn.
Well, these are just a few tips for the deep summer. If you're new to gardening, I hope this helps. If you've been gardening awhile and have any gardening tips, please, feel free to share.
Till next time … see ya!