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Keeping Your Landscape Healthy Throughout the Summer Heat

Every spring, with ambitious goals for our gardens, we plant flowers, edge, mulch, and mow and tend to our lawns in anticipation of being able to enjoy it throughout the summer months.  However, by July, the temperatures have usually skyrocketed, and what started out as lush and vibrant, may now just be a shadow of its former glory.  Surprisingly, overwatering your dead-looking lawn and wilted plants, as well as feeding them fertilizer in the hopes of resuscitating them may end up doing more harm than good. However, there are some precautions you can take to avoid losing all the beauty you worked so hard for in the spring. The most important thing to look for is dehydration.  Nothing will grow if your soil is hard and dry.  As soon as you notice any signs of dehydration, such as wilting, smaller-than-usual curly or misshaped leaves, flower buds that don’t open, more weeds than normal, or brown and thinning patches in your lawn, implement a regular watering schedule either first thing in the morning or as the sun is setting and stick to it. Most lawns need about an inch of water each week and plants require about one gallon of water for each square foot.  Always apply the water to the base of the plant to ensure the roots are getting soaked properly.  Mulching plant beds (about 2 or 3 inches of mulch) as well as the deep but REGULAR watering will help plants establish deep roots.  Moisture will remain in the soil and give the plant the extra time it needs to encourage root growth.  Make sure you keep up with weeding, a collateral “benefit” of watering regularly is that you will also be watering