Summer has officially started, although some areas have already been experiencing drought conditions and extremely hot summer temperatures for a while. Heat waves and summer weather often prompt common questions like, “Is it too late to plant?” or “Would it be better to wait until the fall to plant?” Today we’re going to answer those questions and more about summer planting, tips, and care.
Summer is a Great Time to Plant!
Most trees and plants grow the fastest during the hot summer months. You see this in your own yard year after year.
For best results, make sure that your plants are potted in their own soil and are well rooted in. Avoid trees that arrive bare root (this is where the soil has been washed off the roots).
In the summer we only ship potted trees with vibrant root systems. This insures that your plants quickly get established and take off. So you get to take advantage of all the extra growth this summer season.
First things first, pay attention to your plant’s watering needs. Over watering is often the more common cause of harm to young plants than under watering. By looking at your plant’s leaves you can tell a lot about their watering needs. If the leaves are starting to turn light brown and curling upwards then your plant is dry, and it needs more water. However, slowly increase the amount of water you give it, don’t over correct under watering with over watering. If the leaves start to droop or wilt and look like they’re too heavy for the branches to hold up, or turn dark brown or black then your plant is getting too much water, give them a break!
It’s best to give your plants a slow deep watering every few days instead of a little water every day. A little water every day can cause your plants roots to stay close to the surface because they won’t have to grow downwards in search of water. By holding a hose to your plants base and counting to 20 or seconds the water will soak deeper into the soil and the roots will go further down in order to draw moisture out of the soil. This will result in a more rooted plant with roots that are deeper in the ground soil, which often holds more moisture for plants to utilize.
Roots tend to spread out as much as the plant’s canopy does. A tree’s branches are a mirror image for the root system that we can’t see underground, keep that in mind while giving your trees water in order to properly water them around their bases.
Remember your plant’s individual watering needs. For example, Double Knockout Roses like it when their soil is kept moist, and Crape Myrtles like it when their soil dries out before they get more water. If you aren’t sure about how often to water your plants, feel the soil. If it feels close to drying out, or moist this will be a good indicator if your plants need more water or not. Just remember to never over saturate the soil.
The best time to give your plants water during the summer is in the early morning or evening towards dusk. This way the sun won’t evaporate the moisture during the hot, sunny afternoons. However, we understand that people are busy! If you don’t have time to check on your plant’s soil multiple times a week, consider getting a gator bag. Gator bags lay on the ground around a tree’s trunk and slowly release water into the soil over time. When the soil feels like it’s getting too dry, the gator bag releases more water. Gator bags usually need to be filled once or twice a week.
Adding a 3 inch layer of mulch around the soil around the base of your plants can be extremely beneficial. They help the soil retain moisture, so you won’t need to water your plants as often. Mulch also helps to regulate the temperature of your plants so they won’t heat up too fast. When temperatures can jump from 93 degrees one hour to 97 degrees the next, this rapid heat gain can stress plants out because they warm up too fast. Mulch keeps plants cool, and allows them to slowly warm up.
Just like us, trees can get sun burn from too much intense, direct sunlight. If you’re moving your potted tree from indoors to out, place it outside for an hour or two every day and slowly increase how much time it spends outside over the course of a few days. This way your tree will get used to the sunlight instead of suddenly getting a bad burn.
You can tell if your trees are getting burned by looking at their bark. It will turn a light pale green color, or a pale grey color. To protect newly planted trees you can get shade screens and strategically place them to shade your trees from the harsh afternoon sun. Another option would be to get a loose fitting, white tree guard, which wraps around the trunks of trees and reflects harsh sunlight, and heat away. This is beneficial in both the summer and winter.
Tree wraps are an excellent alternative to painting some of the tree’s trunk white. Tree wraps are less permanent than paint, plus painting too much of the trunk white can cause trees to suffocate.
Don’t fertilize your plant in the summer. It’s better to give them a slow release fertilizer early in the spring. Fertilizer can stress a plant out and burn the roots if there isn’t enough moisture to break it down.
Don’t prune your plants in the summer. Plants already spend a lot of time and energy battling summer heat, if they have to heal where their limbs were cut then it adds to the stress even more.
Don’t forget about bugs and diseases. Dry trees are more susceptible to pests, molds, diseases and more. Look at the leaves on your trees for any signs of holes, or discoloration. You’ll want to catch something early in order to get rid of it!
Don’t sit out this season!
Remember as long as the ground isn’t frozen, then you can go ahead and plant your items. Don’t worry about waiting until the fall or until next spring. Once you get your trees and shrubs planted this summer you can go ahead and start enjoying them. As long as they get enough water, they will flourish!