Summer Garden Activities

Gardening isn’t just a spring activity, several tasks can still to be done in your garden to keep you busy all summer long.  Although we’ve had plenty of rain this season, it’s always a good idea to keep a look out for water stressed plants.  They’ll be the ones with turned down, curled and limp leaves.  A lawn is dry when you walk across it and the grass blades don’t pop right back up and you can see your footprints. It is best to water trees, shrubs and small plants at ground level whenever possible.  Soaker hoses are great for slowly watering your plants.  It’s better to water heavily once a week than a little every day.  This exposes roots to some dryness which makes the plants tougher and able to withstand the extremes throughout the year.  If you have an irrigation system, now is the time to be turning it on and having it run on a regular schedule.  Insect populations explode in the summer, especially after a rain, so be sure to eliminate standing water in your yard.  This could mean turning over empty plant pots and saucers, but could involve better drainage around your home. Another result of the rain is growth of shrubs and trees.  Most, but not all, shrubs can benefit from summer pruning to reduce the amount of leaves the plant maintains and to help them air out from the center which discourages fungal problems.  Trees benefit from pruning by making the leaf canopy thinner and more open to reduce storm winds pulling down the tree.  Pruning can involve removal of dead flowers which usually results in another round of flowers.  You can fertilize your annuals, herbs and vegetables

Managing Your Irrigation System

Irrigation, also known as ‘Irritation’, a well deserved nick name, is the topic of the day. It is hard to install, hard to repair, and even harder to manage it correctly. What a lot of irrigation consumers run into, and do not even realize, are that an incorrect amount of water is being dispersed. Some consumers, because of the lack of education, do not know how to correctly apply run-times, which days to water, and more importantly how much water an individual plant or turf area needs. It's very easy to turn on your irrigation without knowing too much about irrigation in general. But you may not know that there is so much more to it than going to the main irrigation valve and turning on your irrigation controller (which probably has the original times set from installation). More than likely, when the irrigation company installed your system, they put in generic run times that they put in for ALL installations. They will apply 20 minutes for rotors, 10 minutes for pop-ups, and 20-30 minutes for soaker hoses. While all of that sounds great and uniform it doesn't always work for all given plant material and locations. It also doesn't take into account the special needs for your property or the change of seasons. Your irrigation system plays a vital role in the growth and development of your plants and turf. It isn’t as simple as turning it off and on. A lot of plants are very picky about how much water they get, even turf. It is crucial that your irrigation system be regularly monitored and maintained for both the plant material and the conservation of water. We can claim to live in Northern