The Romans believed that when Sirius – the Dog Star and brightest star in the sky – rose and set with the mid summer sun, it added its heat to our own star and created what are known as the Dog Days of Summer. How can we help our lawns and gardens through these “scorchers?”
There are really two issues during these hot spells. First is how to keep your plants healthy and alive, and second is how to keep the landscape looking fresh when it would like to simply wilt. The stress of heat causes plants to be more susceptible to pests, diseases and dehydration. Wilting and fading color, along with a decrease in flower production and lack of new plant growth, are natural reactions to extended temperatures above 86 degrees. These plant signals let you know your plants are stressed.
Keeping Plants Healthy in the Heat Means:
- Water, water, water! A challenge in water conscious Colorado, but if you follow the rule of watering deeply during the cool hours between 11PM and 6AM, you actually end up conserving this valuable resource.
- Give plants extra water. Water is necessary for photosynthesis and turgidity which helps plants resist bugs and disease. During Dog Days, be more generous with watering times.
- Water lawns to a depth of 1 1/2 to 2 inches with each watering to encourage deeper, drought resistant roots and strong blades. Do not mow shorter than 3 inches to avoid root stress.
- Give trees and large shrubs extra water. Again, the deeper the water penetration the deeper the roots will grow into cooler, wetter soils, making the plant more drought resistant.
- Prune away dying limbs and stems so the plant doesn’t have to supply water to them.
- Create wells out of soil that encircle the drip line of the plant to discourage runoff and supply more water to the roots. Just an inch or two will keep water where you want it!
Help Your Landscape Stay Fresh in Summer
- Summer landscapes fade and wilt because they lose water to the hot air, decreasing photosynthesis and cell turgidity. See the above water tips to alleviate this.
- Remove dead flower heads, spent lily stems, and yellowing leaves or dying plants to create a clean, live look.
- Take advantage of mid summer sales and plant new flowers, especially in shade beds. Water them in well.
- Refresh fading mulch in garden beds, rinse stone mulch to remove dust and dirt, highlight yard color with brightly colored flower pots, statuary, lawn furniture or wind chimes and flags.
- Install a water feature to bring refreshing, bubbling sounds into the landscape.
Boulder Landscape and Design installs state-of-the-art irrigation systems. Tired of hand watering and rotating your sprinkler hoses? Call us to design and install a low-water usage irrigation system for your landscape.