Summer's Best Potluck Dish: Three Bean Salad

Summer Gardening Tips for a Happy, Healthy Yard

Extreme heat, drenching rains or dry spells – summer weather is rough and can stress out your plants. To survive and thrive, our plants, like all living things, need care. With a little love, your plants will reward you with a beautiful and healthy landscape. With our top summer maintenance tips, your garden will be looking its best:

1. Mulch

Before extreme heat sets in, ensure your beds are mulched. This accomplishes several things: Besides deterring weeds from taking root, it protects the soil from the heat, as well as keeps water evaporation at bay, creating a healthier growing environment. 

2. Weed

The best time to tackle weeds is while they are still young and easy to pull. Once roots run deep, you may need a spade to dig out those pesky buggers. In the early season, do a check of your yard and remove any you see, making sure to yank all the way down to the roots. Through the season, regularly check for spouts and pull them out.

3. Water

Over watering your plants is just as bad as underwatering. If you’ve had a string of summer thunderstorms, turn off your sprinklers to keep your plants from drowning. Going through a dry spell? Pay attention to the soil. You may need to water certain areas of your yard more than what’s programmed. Note that by keeping your grass a little longer, about 2 ½ to 3-inches for many varietals, you can mitigate the effects of drought on your lawn. Longer blades encourage the roots to go deeper so the grass stays in good shape for longer when water is scarce. 

4. Deadhead

Keep an eye on your flowering shrubs and plants. Once the flowers have started to wilt and die back, cut them off at the tip. This will allow the plant to focus its energy on new growth, which can often mean new blooms. This maintenance will keep your plants looking their best.

5. Watch for bugs

As summer heats up, so do populations of harmful bugs. Counteract potential damage by encouraging healthy bugs to take residence in your garden. Ladybugs will eat aphids, along with mealybugs, whiteflies and mites. Praying mantises will eat grasshoppers, crickets and moths, and garden spiders catch a variety of bugs in their webs. Steer clear of harsh insecticides, which will kill off the good bugs, as well as the bad, and can be harmful to pets. 

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