Its going to be a steamy hot Summer in New York City this year ! If you are gardening on a rooftop it is 5-10 degrees warmer up there than on the ground ( in Winter it is also around the same but colder )
If you want to give your garden some help in making it through Summer I have compiled a list of to do’s that we at Plant Specialists do for all of our gardens – every Summer.
You get thirsty on a hot summer day and so do your plant pals ! Now if you are on a rooftop or have a balcony its a pretty good guess that your plants are residing in pots or planters. Remember that Pots and planters dry out and suffer a lot quicker than anything that is planted directly into the ground. It is a good idea now ( if you have an irrigation system) to make some summer adjustments. Plant Specialists adjusts all of its irrigation systems to take into account the shift in weather from cool Springs to hot summers. It is also a good idea to have the system run twice a day ( try and run early morning and late afternoon in the cooler parts of the day)
A good test to see if your planters and pots are moist enough is to grab a small handful of soil, squeeze it really hard in your fist – if when you open your fist the soil retains the shape then it has enough moisture – if you find it hard to make a fist you may want to head to the gym !
At plant Specialists we irrigate through drip irrigation- so only the roots get water – you want to be a little careful of spraying down leaves and allowing water to sit on these leaves for extended periods of time as that is how molds and diseases can attack your plants.
Mulching – mulching can protect the roots of your plants and seal moisture into the soil by adding a barrier between the sun and the soil. Plant Specialists only mulches up to just about a half an inch away from the trunk of the plant – this reduces the risk of diseases sneaking in and attacking our plants. It also helps keep down the crazy spread of weeds. We only use organic natural mulch at Plant Specialists so that it is adding a nutritional element to the soil as it breaks down. Any colors or chemicals in the mulch will remain in the soil if you are using artificial mulch or artificially colored mulch or wood chips.
Pruning & deadheading ( sounds like a punk band – dating myself here !) Deadheading is removing dead or spent flowers – by doing so you eliminate the plant putting unnecessary resources into a dead or near dead flower – remember after the flower comes the seed – so removing that dead or near dead flower encourages the plant to continue to produce flowers in its never ending quest to reproduce – the end result is a plant that flowers long after it would if allowed to produce its seed and reproduce.
You need to prune any dead wood off of your plants and harvest any vegetables or fruit as they ripen – this, like dead heading allows the plant to continue to reproduce.
Weeding – oh yes I said it that awful job of weeding – don’t leave it until the weeds are taller than the plants – or call Plant Specialists – we can do it for you!The best way to weed is to do it early, pull the weed from the base to get the root out, and mulching will also help in keeping weeds at bay.
So there you go – a few basic tips on what to do to give your plants as much LOVE as possible during the hot Summer months.