This has been a record year for hot dry weather, and the long term forecast isn’t promising much relief. Plants can dry up quickly in this weather, so here are a few tricks to protect your plants from the scorching weather.

Mulch: The soil surface will be 10-15 degrees cooler on a 90-degree day if it is covered with 1-2 inches of mulch. That will keep roots cool and greatly slow evaporation, allowing plants to be watered less frequently. Some additional benefits to mulch are beautification, weed suppression, and this coming winter the roots will have some protection during cold weather.

Water plants correctly: Generally, it is better to water deeply and infrequently. Lawns (if you decide to water your grass) and planting beds generally only need 1 inch of water per week. When watering, put the water down as slowly as possible. Whenever possible, use a drip system or soaker hoses. Impact sprinklers put water down much more slowly than oscillating sprinklers do.

Water at the right time: Best time to water is morning. Evening is next best. You shouldn’t water during the heat of the day, as evaporation will occur quickly, wasting our water resource.

Water your lawn once per month even if you let it go dormant: Despite popular opinion, grass doesn’t always recover after you allow it to go dormant during the dry summer months. Usually the grass snaps back to life and greens back up when moisture returns in fall, if the summer is unusually dry, the grass can literally die of thirst. If we experience an exceptionally dry summer, water your lawn at least once per month during this time. You don’t want to water so much that you bring the grass out of dormancy. Instead, water only once per month and apply about 1 inch of water. That won’t be enough to cause the grass to break dormancy, but will provide enough moisture to keep your lawn alive, so you won’t be faced with the task of replacing a dead lawn in fall. Ensure that your grass has adequate food and nutrients (fertilizer). Have your lawn aerated to improve oxygen flow and check the soil pH balance to ensure the healthiest grass. Remove weeds from grass as they steal nutrients.

Water trees growing in dormant lawns: Many of us stop watering our lawns during summer allowing the grass to go dormant. It’s not a problem for the lawn because the grass will green right back up when the rains return in fall, but the same cannot be said for the tree growing in or next to that dormant lawn. Trees remain actively growing in the heat of summer, and the vast majority of a tree’s roots, even those of very large trees, are located within the top 6 to 24 inches of the soil. Often the roots of lawn trees are found just below the surface of the grass where soil can become bone-dry if the grass isn’t being watered. To prevent drought stress that can lead to increased susceptibility to insect and disease problems, in periods of prolonged drought, water the area where the tree is growing deeply once per month. The best way to do it is to wrap the tree with a soaker hose working your way out from the trunk in concentric circles, ending as close as possible to the drip line (end of the canopy). Run the soaker for a couple of hours, then dig a test hole if the water penetrated a foot deep, and run the soaker longer if necessary.

If you have specific questions on how to keep your landscape looking good during the hot summer weather Corion Landcape Management is here to help. Give us a call at (360) 312-8052 or email us at Corion Landscape Management