Summer can be a rough time for your landscape. The combination of heat, longer days and lack of rain can make it hard for your plants to grow and maintain themselves properly. They may start to droop and die. How can you help your plants recover from summer?
The first step is to recognize that your plants are indeed having problems. Signs of summer stress from drought and heat include:
- Scorched leaves that are brown and dry
- Leaf loss (defoliation)
- Slower growth
- Insects or diseases (stressed trees are less able to fend off these problems)
Do keep in mind that these can also be signs of other problems like nutrient deficiencies, insects, pests and other problems. Scout around your garden to make sure you are not missing any clues.
Try to Prevent Problems Before They Start
One of the best ways to help your plants have the best growth is to choose ones that are well suited to the conditions in your landscape. Native plants originally come from a region and can handle the weather better. Drought tolerant plants in general will adjust to lower water levels.
Watering the Right Way
When you water, ensure that it is actually reaching the plant. Do not water during the hottest parts of the day unless you see plants that are wilting. If you do water them, do so from the base so less is lost to evaporation. Consider installing drip irrigation since emitters are placed right by the plants. As a rule, water for longer periods so the moisture goes down farther into the soil and the roots will follow. It may take some time for plants to recover if they have been stressed for a while.
Should You Fertilize?
You might think it would be a good idea to add some fertilizer to give the plants a boost. This can be detrimental, though. The uptake of the nutrients will stress the system and make it harder for the plant to repair itself as needed. For some plants, you can add some fertilizer in the fall. However, other plants may be harmed if they put out new growth just before a frost.
Have you seen signs of stress in your garden? Did they recover right away?
Image by graibeard under a Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License