For avid gardeners, there’s no better way to enjoy the beauty and bounty of a summer garden than puttering around the yard attending to essential gardening tasks. These 10 late-summer gardening tips can help extend the summer season and ensure that your garden looks great year round.
1. Water, water everywhere
Water evaporates quickly in the dog days of summer, especially during mid-day. Water lawns and flowers beds early in the morning to give the vital moisture time to reach thirsty roots.
2. Grateful deadheads
Extend the life of late-summer blooming perennials by deadheading flowers as soon as they fade. Instead of expending their energy into seeds, they’ll continue to send out buds as long as the weather permits.
3. Mow lawns strategically
Raise the cutting height on your lawnmower. Longer blades of grass help keep the roots cooler on hot summer days. Cut grass in the cool of the evening to give the lawn time to recover.
4. Keep weeds at bay
It’s much easier to control weeds by pulling them out as soon as they appear than by tugging at them later after they’ve establish a strong root system.
5. Divide and conquer
Late summer is a good time to divide plants like peonies, day lilies and iris once the flowers have stopped blooming. Divided plants are less likely to succumb to pests and diseases as well.
6. Sharpen your pruning skills
A little time spent making a few artful cuts to shape a rose bush, shrub or tree can reward you with more flowers and thicker foliage. Attack suckers that spring from the base of a plant with a vengeance to prevent them from stunting the plant’s growth.
7. Convert clippings into mulch
Give young plants a bit of tender loving care with a mulch made of grass clippings from your lawn. Just make sure that the clippings are free of weeds and seeds.
8. Start composting
An alternative use for lawn clippings is to start a compost heap. Layer the clippings with soil and leftover vegetative waste from your kitchen. After a few months of decomposition, the matter will be transformed into nutrient-rich compost.
9. Stay on top of pest patrol
Keep on the lookout for damaging aphids. The tiny pests are easy enough to spray off with a hose if you catch them while their populations are small.
10. Shop for seeds
What better way to laze away a summer afternoon than by perusing seed brochures to get inspiration for next spring’s blooms? Order seeds now so that you’ll have time to plant them before the first frost hits.
You’ve no doubt earned your share of summer relaxation, so be sure to take time to sit back, breathe and take in the beautiful effects of your hard work. Just remember that investing a little time in pruning, planting and planning now can pay off later with a fall harvest and spring color.
Helpful Hint: Liquid fabric softener builds up in clothes over time and can cause all-cotton clothing like fleece or kids’ sleepwear to become more flammable. If you want to use a fabric softener with your all-cotton clothes, use a dryer sheet if their labels say it’s ok.