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What to do Now After a Hot, Dry Summer

Challenge: Drought and extremely high temperatures
Remedy: This Fall, water your garden well. The drought and warmer temperatures continue and your garden must have at least 1” of water per week. Focus on watering your newly installed plants first, then your established trees, evergreens and shrubs. Next, water your perennials and ornamental grasses. Your lawn will recover once rain begins to fall. Chop fallen leaves into very small pieces with a lawnmower or shredder and spread them back on your garden beds. This will help feed the garden slowly over the winter and replenish the depleted nutrients in the soil.

Challenge: Powdery mildew and black spot diseases
Remedy: Powdery mildew was present in many gardens this summer, especially on peonies. Cut peonies and other perennials all the way to the ground and remove select branches from trees and shrubs if they are heavily affected. If black spot was a problem on your roses this summer, cut out all diseased canes and leaves in late October. To avoid spreading both diseases, clean your pruners with alcohol between cuts and before pruning any other plants in the garden. Finally, remove every affected leaf from the garden and throw them away in the garbage. Both diseases can overwinter in the soil. Do not compost branches, canes or leaves.

Challenge: Heavy infestion of insects
Remedy: We’ve observed significant numbers of insects this year that in the past, were only a nuisance. If you know that you have Japanese Beetles, keep an eye on your lawn as their off-spring are now hatching as grubs and feeding off the roots of the grass. Retail outlets have a variety of treatments for grubs, some fast acting, others more environmentally friendly. Japanese Beetles can be controlled but rarely eliminated. Find out more. If you’ve observed other pests, search the web for information or call MODE for a diagnostic visit.

Challenge: Bedraggled perennials
Remedy: Some perennials were stunted by the drought and hot, windy days burned the foliage of others. Cut back any leaves that have turned brown or wilted. Lift and reposition perennials as needed to fill gaps left by others that did not survive. Divide perennials that did well in the heat and make more room for them in your garden.

Challenge: Overwhelmed by the condition of your garden
Remedy: Call MODE at 773-519-6491 to schedule a garden renovation consultation this fall. We can help you restore the beauty of your garden after this very challenging summer.

Reprinted from MODE Landscape Design Vol 10: What to Do After a Hot, Dry Summer, October 2012

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