July gardening activities usually slow down in the summertime as the temperature continues to climb into the 90’s and beyond. July is often a very dry month and can be very hot. New garden projects are not usually started but there are always maintenance chores to do. The best time to do any kind of gardening or maintenance is in the early morning or late in the day after supper.
Proper watering is essential to keep plants healthy in the heat of summer. It is best to water as deeply and infrequently as possible, as opposed to frequent light sprinklings. This will encourage a deeper root system that can take advantage of water stored in the soil.
One of the best strategies for getting shrubs and young trees through summertime dry spells is to apply a thick layer of mulch over the root systems of plants. Mulches break down over time, so if it has been a while since you’ve mulched, check all the plants in your yard. A three to four-inch layer will prevent most evaporation from the soil and lower the soil temperature in the root zone, reducing stress on the root system.
Drip irrigation combined with mulch is an excellent way to maintain plant health during the hot summer months. Drip irrigation is a type of micro-irrigation system that has the potential to save water and nutrients by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either from above the soil surface or buried below the surface. The goal is to place water directly into the root zone and minimize evaporation. Soil erosion and weed growth are lessened with drip irrigation because the foliage remains dry, reducing the risk of disease to healthy plants. If drip irrigation is not an option at this time, consider using soaker hoses to provide a good source of water to your garden or bedding plants.
Water plants in containers and hanging baskets more frequently in the summer to keep them from drying out. This can leach out plant nutrients from the soil, so use a water-soluble fertilizer regularly to keep your plants growing and healthy.
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