Five Mid-Summer recommendations for your yard

It’s Summer and that means there is plenty of opportunity in our yards and gardens! Here are 5 suggestions for your yard and garden.

  1. July and August are great months for enjoying the beauty of butterflies fluttering around your yard. Here are four plants you can add for mid-summer color and all four are butterfly magnets!
    Verbena bonariensis (the tall plant in the center)
    Verbena bonariensis (the tall plant in the center) photo courtesy Proven Winners
    Pugster Buddleia or "Butterfly Bush"
    Pugster Buddleia or “Butterfly Bush”
    Asclepias or Butterfly Weed
    Asclepias or Butterfly Weed
    Lo and Behold Butterfly Bush
    Lo and Behold Butterfly Bush

    2. When it comes to the lawn if you do nothing else at least raise the deck on your lawn mower. Longer grass leaf blades shade the crown of the plant reducing stress, provide more surface area for healthy photosynthesis and naturally help shade out weeds giving the lawn a thicker more competitive edge.Pruning. If it blooms in spring prune right after blooming.
    3. Prune in June for evergreens. If it blooms in fall (August to October) prune in spring. Deadhead herbaceous perennials and leave the foliage on if it looks nice as long as possible. Pinch Mums and tall sedums until July 1. Non flowering woody plants and trees prune in winter. With no leaves, insect or disease activity the dead of winter is the perfect time. Don’t be afraid to rejuvenate prune or prune to allow more sunlight penetration and air movement. Pruning produces outward growth and can often stimulate more aggressive blooming.

4.Mulch. Mulch is a good thing but like your Mom always told you, you can overdo a good thing. Mulch reduces soil temperature in summer and helps maintain a more steady temperature the rest of the year. Mulch helps hold some moisture in the soil and suppresses light to weed seeds. Don’t allow mulch to become hydrophobic, stir it occasionally. Don’t pile it on year after year until you have a thick spongy surface. 1 to 2 inches is sufficient. Gases develop under “overpiled” mulch that can be toxic to your plants. Don’t mound mulch against tree and woody plant trunks accustomed to being dry. Mulch “volcanoes” will cause girdling roots and crown rot at the base of the plant or tree.

5. Water. There is NOT a one size fits all watering schedule. Most plants like a moist well drained soil which sounds like an oxymoron but it’s true. Exposure and species is a factor. Time of year is a factor. Soil type is a factor. Invest in the foundation of a good quality soil and it will pay for itself. Liberally work in organic matter 50/50 with the parent soil for outdoor plantings. Sprinklers are good for lawns, not for landscape plants. Trees and woody plants should have a hose trickle deep soaking at the base from time to time dependent on weather conditions. For hanging baskets press against the base of the basket lifting to feel the weight. Learn to tell by the weight of the basket if it needs water then water thoroughly. If soil dries it contracts from the sides of the basket and water flows across the top and down the sides. Take the basket down from time to time to drench the core. Water soluble polymer crystals are a good idea for container plantings.  Mycorrhizae is a wonderful natural way to colonize roots and enhance their reach into the soil.

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