Planting and transplanting during the dogs days of summer, are not ideal. But with a few tips on how to "beat the heat" and with a little extra TLC to your plants, you can grow whatever you want this time of year — without getting too carried away! Remember to work according to the specific variety you are trying to plant/protect.
As with most yard projects, you need to plan ahead! Watch your local weather and plan your "gardening days" accordingly. Try landscaping on an overcast day, or perhaps, just after it has finished raining. Your plants won't have to compete with the scorching sun to absorb the water, and maybe Mother Nature can just take care of the watering all together for you! Is your city's water-use restrictions preventing you from feeding your landscape as much as you need to? You may consider using rain barrels that will capture runoff from your gutters to use in your garden as a backup water source.
Make sure you water any new plants or transplants thoroughly this time of year. The best way to water in extreme heat is with a drip system. Over-head watering, such as sprinklers, tend to allow the water to evaporate in extreme heat, therefore leaving your plants without the vital water they need to survive these blazing temperatures. If you do use sprinklers, avoid watering during the hottest part of the day. Try setting them to run automatically during the cooler morning or evening temperatures.
Keeping your grass length a little longer this time of year can help keep the surface soil of your yard cool. Keeping your beds mulched will do the same for your plant's root system. This practice can help some plants the ability to better cope with extreme temperatures, so they don't suffer from heat shock. Dried grass also works great as a "mulch" in this circumstance. Mulch will also help keep away weeds that would otherwise take away from your plant's ability to absorb water and nutrients.
The most important tip we can give you for summer gardening, is to take care of the gardener! Soaring temperatures can be as rough on the gardener as the plants they are trying to grow. Make sure to drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen or protective clothing, and of course take advantage of something you can do that the plants cannot -- go inside before you get too hot!
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