This time of year is often referred to as "the dog days of summer". I suppose it's called that since a dog with any sense at all chooses to nap lazily in the coolest spot possible. Still, I think it's unfair to saddle man's best friend with such a horrible season. The recent period of extended heat and humidity takes a toll on man, dog and plants as well. 

Watering can become a difficult chore when temps reach or exceed the century mark for days on end. One recent night it was still 89 degrees at midnight. Most early morning temps are inthe upper 70's when I slip outside to do my watering. Even then the humidity is horrible. I prefer to water early in the day but realize not everyone's schedule permits that. For those who must water in the evening, it's best to wait until the sun sinks lower in the sky and offers a bit of a reprieve from the excessive heat. 

Watering, like planting, takes trial and error to determine the best result in your garden. Over the years, I have learned that less frequent but deeper watering sustains plants better in times of extreme heat or drought. The exception to that rule is containers and new plantings added this season. Those inground plantings may require watering every few days. The containers may require daily watering. Those in direct sun will benefit from a relocation where they receive afternoon shade. 

Most plants, shrubs and trees adapt well to summer heat with no additional water if one inch or more rainfall is received in a week's time. If not, a weekly deep watering will be necessary. 

It only takes a few dribbles of water on tender plant leaves to scorch them in the summer heat. While an adjustable hose-end sprayer aimed over and around plants is a convenient method for the gardener, it spells death to tender vegetation in this heat. I prefer to water with no attachment on my hose. That way I can manipulate it under and around plants directing water to the roots where it's needed without splashing onto the leaves. 

Your weekly deep watering will encourage plants to put down deeper roots, enabling them to better source moisture and more easily adapt to harsh summer conditions. 

Don't neglect watering recently planted trees and shrubs as well. It takes several years for root systems to be fully established and thus they benefit from additional moisture during extreme conditions. 

Be sure to remember to drink plenty of wate yourself while hydrating your gardens and take frequent breaks. With plentyof water our gardens will survive the heat and so will we. 

Stay cool and

Happy Gardening.


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