Hey there! How is your Summer going so far? Have you been enjoying some outdoor fun (and indoor fun when the weather has been a little too H-O-T?)? We hope you’re having some fun this Summer and making some great memories! Today’s post is all about keeping those beauties you bought from our Nursery last week (or last month) alive and healthy this Summer and I’ve got some simple tips laid out below to help you out! Because it is a big bummer to buy a beautiful plant only to get it home and it die a few weeks later (been there, done that!).Let’s have happy, healthy plants!
Okay! So, first off, should you plant in the Summer anything besides annuals, perennials, and vegetables? Should larger things like shrubs and (gasp!) trees be planted in the dead heat of Summer?
The answer is……. “Yes, but! Only if you are willing to love on that shrub and/or tree this Summer. If you’re willing to show it some tender lovin’ care, then YES! Plant in the Summer. If you have a 50 hour per week job and/or and you really don’t have the time, then no, wait until Fall.”
What does this extra tender lovin’ care look like for planting shrubs and trees in Summer?
Watering! Of course, it goes without saying. But many people don’t know how much water to give a newly planted shrub or tree, and that is where you can have a problem.
Here are our tips specifically for watering in the Summer (the first Summer any plant is in the ground- even if it was planted last Fall):
Annuals and Perennials will typically let you know when they’re thirsty. You know the signs- they droop and look pretty terrible. But shrubs and trees can be a different story. Your tree can look fine, but inside be thinking “I need a drink! Please water me!” (okay, so trees don’t talk..or think… but just go with me here!).
Shrubs and trees need a deep watering every 3-4 days that we are not getting a good soaking rain that first Summer they’re planted.
For TREES– what I do at my house is make a little berm with extra dirt or mulch around the base of my tree, then I set the hose inside that and let it run for about 30 minutes in the evening as the sun is setting. While it’s being watered, I can go do the dishes, hang out with my kids, play a game of ‘I Spy’ with my color blind husband (just kidding on that one) and then come back and move the hose to the next shrub or tree.
For SHRUBS– you do the same thing but usually it will be fine with about 15-20 minutes of deep watering for each one. Unless you have bought a B&B shrub (balled and burlapped), then do 30 minutes.
The reason trees and shrubs specifically need these deep, long waterings is because their roots are getting established in the ground. They need plenty of water for this, especially during the hot, dry Summer months.
2. Mulching is awesome for a newly planted shrub or tree. Mulch helps keep plants cooler in the Summer and helps lock moisture in, so not only does it make your landscape look A-MAZING, it also has many other practical benefits to it as well.
3. And this one should have been number 1, but pay close attention that you plant your new beauty where it will thrive- sun or shade. Don’t hope for the best and plant your beautiful shade loving ‘Endless Summer’ Hydrangea in all day, full sun- it will not love it and unfortunately, it will not fare well for you.
A few other tips for Summer planting:
Do not go overboard with fertilizing this first Summer it is planted. Your plant will be under some stress already from the heat and just getting its roots established in your ground, so keep fertilizing to a minimum or wait until next Spring.
Do not expect lots and lots of blooms on your new Crape Myrtle (or whichever tree/shrub you plant) this Summer. It may have a few pretties on it, but it may not this year too and that is perfectly fine (well, you may wish it had more, but just wait until you see how gorgeous it is next year!! ). Plants get established the first year they are in the ground and most of their energy is spent on getting acclimated to your soil and getting those roots going down deep and strong. So not a lot of thought is put into producing those blooms, which actually, is a good thing because you will have a healthier plant ready to produce those showstopping blooms (which is mostly why you loved it to begin with!) next year.
If you have lots of clay in your soil, it will be a good idea to purchase a bag of soil conditioner when you buy your plants. Ask us at the register how much you will need and how to mix it into your soil- it is very easy, very inexpensive, and will work wonders for your plant in clay soil.
Next Summer, your plant will be nicely established and not need much extra tending to besides an occasional trimming, watering, or fertilizing.
Here’s to happy, healthy plants and to successful Summer planting! We’d love to answer any questions you have; leave us a comment below.