The sun is out in full force and the plants in your yard seem to be slowly melting in the August heat. Fear not. We have guidance to get you (and your Knoxville landscaping) through the dog days of summer.
Water Is Good, Burning-Hot Water Is Not
Although it might be tempting to water your plants and lawn in the heat of the day, resist the urge. Although you could probably do with a cool down mid-day, you’ll put your plants at risk. When watered, most plants retain droplets on their leaves or petals, which can turn deadly when magnified by the heat of the sun, burning holes in delicate foliage. Giving your plants a drink mid-day can also lead to over watering and potential problems with fungus because plants in heat stress will soak up the water too quickly.
Your best bet is to water early in the morning (before 8:00 a.m.). If that’s not possible, opt for sharing an after-dinner drink with you plants (but don’t let happy hour go late into the evening).
Skip the Prune (Maybe Wait Until June)
We get it. With this hot, rainy summer, your plants may be looking a lot like my beard these days (wildly out of control, that is). When your green thumbs are reaching for the pruning sheers, take control and stop. Pruning when it’s hot will cause your plants a lot of stress. The goal of pruning is to promote new growth, but this time of year, your plants have enough to worry just trying to stay alive in these brutal temps. Don’t make them work overtime by signaling it’s time for a growth spurt. Depending on the plant, plan to prune evergreens in late spring or early summer and deciduous shrubs (the ones that drop their leaves in the winter) are usually best pruned in the fall.
If every HGTV summer landscaping show has you green with envy over lush landscapes, it’s a good time to exercise patience. These hot summer days make for the worst time to add plants to your Knoxville landscaping. For starters, when you take a new plant out of its restricting plastic pot and put it in rich, fertilized soil, it’s going to want to break free and start growing. As with pruning, this signals it’s time to put down roots. In this weather, that’s asking an awful lot of your landscaping.
Additionally, new plants need water to establish, but watering is a tricky task when you’re limited by long, hot days. Even planting perennials this time of year can be problematic. Despite the fact that many of these plants thrive in hot temperatures (think ornamental grasses, Cone Flower and Black-Eyed Susan), with the stress put on new plants, they likely won’t be able to establish hearty roots in time to make it through a cold winter, turning your precious perennials into annuals for sure.
Focus on Heat-Friendly Maintenance
We won’t kick you out of your yard this month entirely, though. Here are some summer landscaping maintenance to-dos that are perfect for the long, hot days of August. Now’s also a good time to start planning your big fall projects. If you’re ready to talk patios and pergolas for football season, fill out our contact form or call me at 865-765-5550.