Hello fellow readers,
The week of July 4th ignites the summer vacation season. With the plentiful rains so far this summer, plants will likely be more vulnerable to heat stress once the heat and dryness kick in. So, before you head off to de-stress, here are a few tips to help your plants and lawn from becoming stressed.
The temptation is to fertilize gardens in the spirit of providing added nutrition to sustain plants while you’re away. In fact, it’s best not to juice them up as it will stimulate new growth creating the need for more water. Rather, gather your potted gardens and move them to a shady spot. Grouping them together will help hold moisture and humidity. Thoroughly water the soil of each pot until the water soaks through the holes on the bottom, avoiding wetting the leaves which can cause foliar disease. Same is true in your garden beds. Use a slow stream or the soaker setting from your garden hose rather than an overhead sprinkler. However, if you must use sprinkler irrigation, water in the early morning so leaves have all day to dry which will reduce the likelihood of disease. Be sure plants are not sitting in water as root rot is not reversible while drought stress usually is. You can set pots on stones or bricks, above the level of water, in a tray or saucer to maintain humidity.
If you’re going away for more than a week, line up a friend to water your pots and garden if Mother Nature doesn’t provide. And don’t forget about your indoor plants which are better moved at least four feet away from a sunny window.
If it’s dry before you leave, give the lawn a long soak and avoid the temptation to mow extra short before you leave as it will cause further stress. Not to worry if your grass turns brown. Going dormant for a few weeks in summer is natural and offers a vacation from cutting. Plus, it makes your lawn less welcoming to grubs.
Most of all prepare for a free-for-all as deer can be quick studies that you’re away. Be sure to choose a systemic deer spray, which means it will soak into the foliage rather than wash off in the rain. I use an organic spray called Deer Out which has a pleasant-smelling clove oil base and spray even deer resistant plants. Meanwhile, enjoy your respite as your “fun” garden chores will be waiting for your return. Garden dilemmas? AskMaryStone@gmail.com