August is usually the warmest month of the year for the Pacific Northwest. Occasionally, the heat can be a little surprising to both plants and people, since we have cool temperatures for most of the year. But we can all survive and even thrive with a little bit of extra care. We have several ideas on how to keep your landscape looking clean, healthy and beautiful in the lovely summer sun:
Generally speaking, we all want to increase the amount of water that we give our plants during hot weather. Additionally, it’s best to water in the morning or in the evening, when temperatures have cooled. We do this to reduce evaporation but also because water reflects light and retains heat and can burn leaves in midday. Get to know your plants’ individual water needs and plan accordingly. You can set a timer on your irrigation system then water the extra thirsty plants by hand in between. Check for signs of dehydration in plants. The most common sign is leaves drooping, shriveling and curling. If they burn, they generally turn brown and curl up. Try to catch them before they get to that stage and give them a long deep soak!
The best weeding advice we could give is to stay on top of them! By weeding for a few minutes every couple of days, we can save ourselves a back-breaking Saturday afternoon when we’d rather be fishing. Take a moment in the evening to relish in the beauty of your landscape and while you are there, quickly dig out a few weeds that are trying to creep in or snap off that dandelion seed head before it blows away. Prevention also goes a long way to keep weeds at bay. Adding a few inches of mulch to your garden beds will smother and kill most weeds. It also has the added bonus of helping the soil to retain moisture on those hot days!
Cleaning up after your plants:
Some plants get a little messy this time of year and tend to shed a few things. Before we even get into the falling leaves of autumn, there are other little messes to clean up. Clip off (or deadhead) any spent flowers on shrubs, perennials and annuals alike. All of them will look a lot neater for it and will produce more flowers as a result. Just be sure to clip off the entire flower, including any developing seeds. This will encourage bloom production in roses, dahlias, nigellas and more! Additionally, it’s a good idea to pick up any ripe or rotten fruit that may drop from your (or your neighbor’s) trees. Leaving it on the ground just attracts all kinds of critters and makes quite an unsightly mess. Cleaning them up keeps the bugs at bay and any seedlings as well!
In the heat of summer, it’s a good idea to cut your grass a little taller than normal. This helps it retain moisture and stay greener longer. If you have some bare spots, now can be a good time to reseed so that new grass has a chance to grow and become established before cold weather hits. You can fertilize your lawn at this time as well, to give it a boost of growth for the fall. But be careful not to over-fertilize because it can burn your grass, especially in the heat.
Think ahead for fall planting:
We are lucky to live in such a mild climate. Because of our warm autumns, we can often plant a second crop of vegetables for a fall harvest. August is the right time to get those in the ground. Try planting more cold-tolerant varieties like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce and peas. Late-summer and early autumn is the perfect time to plant new trees and shrubs as well. The plants like the warm soil and the cooler air so take a look at your yard and see if there is a nice spot for a new hydrangea or Japanese maple. Then contact us and we’ll help you get it installed.
Is your yard getting out of control? Is your summer to jam-packed to leave time for weeding and land care? Give us a call and our expert maintenance team can come to the rescue to tame and beautify your landscape! Contact us today to get a quote!