BY SOREN ELSAY
During the dry summer months, managing your garden turns into more of a survival game than anything else.
Proper watering, pruning, and deadheading are all essential to keeping your garden fresh as the summer months carry on. Whether you are an experienced gardener or someone that is just getting started, remember these important tips while executing these fundamental gardening tasks.
- When watering planters, fill the pot until there is a thin layer of water on top of the soil and then let it drain. Repeat 5 to 8 times depending on the size of the container. If the soil is still absorbing the water rapidly, keep watering until the absorption slows.
- Even after what feels like significant rainfall, continue your watering routine. If you check the soil after some rain, you’ll see that it is often only the top layer that gets wet.
- For larger plants such as shrubs and small trees, extensive watering is required. If you notice any signs of wilting, start putting either a soaker hose, or some sort of continual watering apparatus, on the plant for at least a couple of hours a day. The permanent wilting point (PWP), is when your plant has wilted past the point of no return. To avoid this, ensure it is given significantly more water at any sign of wilting.
- While certain plants call for specific pruning guidelines, a good rule to stick by is always cutting at a “crotch,” where the branch you are pruning meets another branch or the main stem/trunk. Cutting at a crotch will allow the plant to maintain a natural shape, as cutting mid branch often causes “suckers,” where are new growths that extend straight up in undesirable fashion from the point that was cut.
- When pruning roses, always try to cut back to a branch that has at least five leaves on it. If that’s not possible, aim for a “node,” a small bump where new growth is beginning.
- Always be on the constant look out for dead limbs on your trees. Not only are they a danger to the people walking below, removing the dead weight will encourage quicker regrowth.
- Like weeding, deadheading can be a tiresome but ultimately worthwhile endeavor. Continually removing the dying flowers from a plant, before they seed, forces the plant to keep producing more and more flowers.
- Make sure to remove the entire flower from the stem. An efficient technique can be found by just using your thumb and your index finger to pop the flower heads off.
- If you are not in a position to deadhead regularly, don’t hesitate to remove flowers that are only beginning to show signs of decay. As contradictory as it feels, deadheading during the flowering season truly is addition by subtraction when it comes to keeping your garden in full bloom.
Soren Elsay has worked as a professional landscaper in Vancouver. He is an aspiring writer with a bachelor of arts from the University of British Columbia.
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