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August in the garden

  • This month it is best to just try to keep your shrubs and perennials watered and keep the bad bugs in check. When the weather is hot and the rain is scarce, most plants are under stress. Plants under stress become susceptible to insect invasions.

    The best way to determine that amount of water a plant needs is to observe it daily. Geographical location, microclimate, soil conditions, shade and age and type of plant can all have influence on the amount of water required to keep a plant robust. The type of watering methods, and the amount of mulch can also affect the requirements, so it is difficult to have rules on how often and how long to water. Getting to know your plants and being able to detect when they need to be watered is the best way to keep them healthy.

    Typically a long, deep soak once every week or two is better for established shrubs than frequent shallow watering. Plants that have been recently planted (within the past six months to a year) will need more frequent soaking until they become established. Providing some shade in the hottest part of the day can decrease the amount of water required during the summer heat. Consider building water basins at the base of new plants to keep water from running off.

    Occasionally spraying off plants will help keep them healthy and discourage insects from becoming settled.

    Check automatic sprinklers for coverage and to make sure they are still working correctly. A blocked spray due to a plant growing taller can result in losing plants that aren’t getting the water they need very quickly this month.
    Add mulch if soil is exposed to the sun. Mulch will keep the soil cooler and retain moisture, eliminating the hard crust that can develop on the surface that will resist water soaking in deep.