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Gardening with Laurie: Dog days of summer are coming

By By Laurie Garretson
May 29, 2014 at 12:29 a.m.

Laurie Garretson

So Memorial Day has come and gone. This can only mean one thing to us gardeners: Summer is almost here. Hot, humid, dry weather conditions have arrived. We were very lucky to have had such a cool spring, but our dog days of summer are upon us.

Now is the time to get your landscape ready for the long, hot, dry days ahead. Your favorite type of mulch should be applied to all plantings. Mulch helps to keep root systems cool and keep moisture in the soil, and it slows weed growth.

June is a good time to apply an organic fertilizer to your lawn. Natural fertilizers can be applied at any time of the year with no fear of burning, and they will not need to be watered in. Feeding now will help provide the lawn with nutrients needed to keep it healthy and green through harsh summer conditions.

Feeding all plants with an organic fertilizer is a very good idea. Water alone can't supply plants with all the needed nutrients that a good fertilizer can supply. Healthy plants are much less prone to pest and disease problems.

If you grow blackberries, you probably are beginning to notice them ripening. Be sure the berries are fully ripe before they are picked. They will not ripen any more once picked. Once each plant has stopped bearing fruit, it's time to cut each cane that bore fruit completely down to the soil. This allows younger canes to bear crops next year.

Zinnias and periwinkles are very popular summer annuals for our part of the world. They take summer heat and provide lots of beautiful color. One thing these beauties don't like is moisture on their leaves. Both of these types of plants can be prone to fungal problems. Using soaker hoses in flower beds is a good way to provide water. Feeding all your blooming annuals at least once a month will help keep them healthy and blooming at their best all summer long.

Don't forget to keep all woody plants well-watered. They will need deep, thorough watering on a regular basis to stay happy all summer. Woody plants grown in grassy areas will need more water than what's usually applied to the lawn. Grass roots can take up much of the water not leaving enough for woody plants. Longer, slower watering works best in most planting areas - especially in this situation.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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