Seven Tips to Help Your Landscape Beat the Heat this Summer by gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda MyersSummer has arrived and for many gardeners that means heat, drought and watering bans.This can be hard on gardeners as well as their landscapes. The good news is that there areways to help plants thrive despite these seasonal challenges. Adjusting landscape careaccordingly during the summer months can not only provide relief for lawns and gardens,but also for the gardener. Here are some low maintenance eco-friendly ways gardeners cankeep their landscapes looking their best throughout the summer months, while beating theheat: Water plants thoroughly to promote deep drought- and pest- resistant roots. Wait until the top few inches of soil are crumbly and moist or footprints remain in the lawn before watering again. Avoid light, frequent watering that encourages shallow roots. Shallow roots are less able to tolerate drought and more susceptible to disease and insect problems. Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of shredded leaves, evergreen needles or shredded bark mulch over the soil in garden beds and around trees and shrubs. Mulching conserves moisture, keeps roots cool and moist, and suppresses weeds.Mow lawns high. Taller grass produces deeper roots that are more drought-tolerant. Adeeply rooted lawn is also more resistant to insects, disease and other environmentalstresses.Always mow lawns often enough, so you remove lessthan one third the total leaf surface. Leave the grassclippings on the lawn. They add nitrogen, organicmatter and moisture to the soil.Use a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer, likeMilorganite, to give gardens and lawns a nutrient boost.This organic nitrogen fertilizer remains in the soil untilthe growing conditions are right for the plant.Remove weeds from garden beds and borders as soon asthey appear. These “plants out of place” steal water andnutrients from your desirable garden plants. Plus, theycan harbor insects and diseases that are harmful to yourgarden plants.And don’t forget to take care of yourself while caring foryour landscape during the heat of summer. Drink lots ofliquid, use sunscreen, and work during the cooler morning and evening hours.Then when the gardening tasks are done for the day, grab a glass of lemonade, take a seatin the shade and enjoy the beauty of your handiwork.
Nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small SpaceGardening. She hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments which air on over 100TV and radio stations throughout the U.S. and Canada. She is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds& Blooms magazine and writes the twice monthly “Gardeners’ Questions” newspaper column. Melinda alsohas a column in Gardening How-to magazine. Melinda hosted “The Plant Doctor” radio program for over 20years as well as seven seasons of Great Lakes Gardener on PBS. She has written articles for Better Homesand Gardens and Fine Gardening and was a columnist and contributing editor for Backyard Livingmagazine. Melinda has a master’s degree in horticulture, is a certified arborist and was a horticultureinstructor with tenure. Her web site is www.melindamyers.com ###