The first day of summer is a little more than a month away, and we want you to be able to enjoy the outdoors, whether that means a trip to the beach or just a relaxing evening in your backyard.
But it’s hard to relax when you’re sitting on your patio surrounded by plants that are struggling to make it through the summer. Here are a few plant health care tips for maintaining healthier landscape plants all year long.
- Find the right conditions for each plant
Will a plant grow in acid or alkaline soil? Does it thrive in the sun or do best in the shade? Answer those questions and find a location on your property that suits the needs of the plant. You may need to change the conditions of your landscape to help improve the plants health, whether that means acidifying the soil or taking out some plants to give more sun to others.
- Remember to mulch
Mulch helps protect your plants from weeds and retain moisture in the soil. And as the mulch decomposes, it releases nutrients that help your plants thrive.
But make sure you’re not using too much mulch, which can smother the roots and keep rain from getting into the soil. A layer of about two to three inches is all you need.
- Rules for watering
Not every plant needs the same amount of water. Most garden plants and ornamentals thrive with maybe an inch of rainfall a week, but some plants – like those growing in sandy or rocky soil – may need even more water.
Other plants need may require less watering, such as drought-tolerant plants or plants that grow in high-clay soil. You can check to see if your plants need water by digging a few inches below the surface. If the soil feels dry, give your plants a drink.
It’s important to water deeply but infrequently, using a hose or drip irrigation system. If you’re just wetting the top inch of soil, the roots will stay near the surface and dry out.
- Prune now, avoid tree surgery later
Tree pruning is essential to protecting your plants’ health. Cut away things such as dead/dying branches, branches growing toward the center of a shrub or tree, or sprouts growing at the base of a tree trunk.
Deciduous trees – those that lose their leaves each year – should be pruned once their leaves have sprouted in spring and then throughout the summer. With evergreen trees, pruning can wait until late winter. Pruning in late summer can cause new growth that may not survive the winter.
- Fertilize only when necessary
In the first year or two after you plant new trees or shrubs, it’s important to provide them with the right nutrients to encourage root growth. But mature trees and shrubs need less fertilizer, and giving them too much can stimulate excessive new growth.
Tree fertilization can be tricky, and if you’re concerned about what nutrients your soil needs to keep plants healthy, it’s a good idea to consult a professional.
In fact, a professional tree and landscape company can help you navigate all of the tips we’ve described today, from planting to pruning to watering to pest control.
For more than 30 years, Willow Tree and Landscape Services has been helping customers care for their plants through our comprehensive landscaping services. If you’re worried about the health of your landscape plants, contact us today. We’ll set you up with a free consultation with one of our ISA certified arborists, and you can relax this summer knowing your plants are doing their best.