What Not to Do
By Paul James
I usually write about what you should do in the garden, but today I’m doing just the opposite. After all, it’s the middle of summer, a time of the year when what you don’t do is arguably more important than what you do do. (I admit that’s an odd way to end a sentence, but it is grammatically correct!)
Don’t just “sprinkle” when you water. Shallow watering is basically a waste of water, because if water doesn’t percolate into the root zone of plants it doesn’t do any good. You’ve heard it before, and you’re about to hear it again: Deep soak each time you water.
Don’t spray with oil-based products in the middle of the day. This includes horticultural oil and Neem oil. Although they’re great, all-natural pesticides/fungicides, they can be phytotoxic, meaning they can burn leaves, especially when temps are in the 90s. Instead, apply oil-based products after sundown.
Don’t cut your grass too short. The height of your turf is roughly equivalent to the depth of its roots, and this time of year you want the deepest roots possible. So raise the height of your mower at least one notch (preferably two) regardless of the type of turf you grow.
Don’t allow water to stand in pot saucers, or anywhere else for that matter. It’s mosquito season, after all, and those little buzzers need only a thimble full of water to lay their eggs.
Don’t transplant anything. Now is the absolute worst time to transplant pretty much anything and everything. (Irises can be transplanted next month.)
Don’t apply fertilizer too aggressively. Feeding plants when it’s really hot forces them to grow at a time when they’d rather take a break. If you feel you must fertilize, use half the amount recommended on the package. Otherwise, wait another month or so.
Don’t plant large trees or shrubs this time of year. The odds of them surviving aren’t good, so better to wait until things cool off a bit.
Don’t overdo it. Take frequent breaks, drink lots of water, and try to get your gardening chores done early in the morning.
Happy gardening, ya’ll.
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