Garden tips to protect your plants from the stress of a dry, hot, buggy summer.
By Melinda Myers
Don’t let summer stressors ruin your garden and landscape’s good looks. Instead give your plants’ natural defenses a boost and keep both vegetable gardens producing and flowers blooming.
Busy summer schedules can lead to plant neglect and less-than-picture-perfect gardens. When you team this with summer heat and drought that can lead to wilting, brown leaves, and poor growth, and add insects and diseases that can further weaken and damage plants, gardens can really suffer.
Organic plant strengtheners can act like vitamins or immunizations to boost natural defenses so plants are better able to deal with environmental challenges.
Scientists found that when plants experienced stress, they produced certain molecules that activated their defenses. They isolated these molecules, applied them to other plants, and found that the treated plants were more stress-tolerant. One such family of molecules is the jasmonates, originally identified in the jasmine plant, that increases hundreds of defense molecules in treated plants.
Proactively using a plant strengthener before healthy garden plants become threatened can help keep them vibrant. Some commercial brands include JAZ Sprays, Amino Treatment and Employ H&T Plant Health Promoter.
Yardwork Doesn’t Take a Vacation
Of course, you should also make sure you give your garden plants proper care throughout their lifetime. Water thoroughly and as needed. Then mulch the soil surrounding your plants with shredded leaves, evergreen needles, or other organic materials. These conserve moisture, keep roots cool and moist, suppress weeds, and improve the soil as they break down in the summer.
And, if your summer garden experiences the same problems each year, it is time to make a change. Move stressed plants to more suitable growing conditions. Match the plant to the light, soil and moisture it prefers. Replace diseased plants with resistant varieties and provide proper care.
By taking these steps and investing a bit of time and energy, you’ll be sure to create a beautiful, healthy and productive garden and landscape that thrives all summer long.
About our Guest Expert: Melinda Myers is a nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author and columnist. She is a contributing editor to Birds & Blooms magazine and other publications, and maintains melindamyers.com.