GARDENING IN HEAT OF SUMMER

Welcome to June and the launch of our three brightest and warmest months of the Oklahoma year.  This is the season when our plants have the most light so their chlorophyll factories can be their most industrious and productive of the year as long as they have access to adequate moisture and don’t get overheated. We can help to create the right environment for each plant by planting them in the proper spot to have the greatest chance for gardening success.  It is important to know if a plant does best in full sun, partial sun or full shade.  Does plant need a well drained soil and doesn’t like “wet feet” or one that likes to stay damp or even relishes bog type conditions.

 We have finished only about two months of the 2012 growing season and have about five months still ahead to enjoy our annual plantings.  Many of us in the horticulture business are always so swamped in April and May that we rarely get to plant our own gardens and containers until June or after.  I have gotten much of my planting done the last couple of weekends and will plant more soon. You can be very successful planting container grown annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees at this time of year as long as you will be diligent to water them in well and to water regularly as they confront the summer heat.

 This is a great time of year to consider installing drip irrigation to provide even and regular watering to your vegetable gardens, flowerbeds, trees and even container gardens.  Once installed it is fairly easy to automate these systems with a timer to assure nice slow, soaking water applications.

Most plantings will benefit from an application of natural mulches like bark of pine, oak, fir, cedar or eucalyptus or hulls like pecan, cocoa or cottonseed. This will reduce water evaporation from the soil and watering volume and time by up to 50%, while keeping soil temperatures cooler and more consistent.  Another bonus of a mulch “comforter” of 1 to 3 inches deep over the soil surface is the dramatic reduction of weed germination and competition with your desired plants.

 Many of you sustained tree damage lately from the hail and high winds.  Make clean cuts where branches were twisted, ripped or torn from your trees or shrubs then prune as required to balance the remaining tree canopy.  This is a good time to feed your lawn, trees and shrubs before we enter the really hot season.  Visit with your local nurseryman to help select the proper fertilizer for your soils and specific plants.  Due to the mild winter, we need to be watching for worm, spidermite and other insect damage.  Take a sample of problems to your nurseryman to select the proper controls or remedy.  This is the best time of the year to treat your lawn for grubs if that is one of your challenges.

We continue to be blessed with regular rains this year and the great outdoors is alive with color and excitement.  Please make time to enjoy your yard and garden, visit your local parks and enjoy some time with the wonders of nature.

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