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Master Gardener: Hot weather tips

If Mother Nature isn’t watering your lawn or garden enough, it’s up to you. Plants, including trees, need at least an inch of water each week. Water thoroughly and slowly. The deeper the water soaks in, the deeper plant roots will grow. Shallow watering of plants results in shallow roots that dry out much quicker. Water early in the day and until the soil is moist to a depth of 3 to 4 inches.

Don’t forget to freshen birdbath water daily. The birds need fresh water like other living things during summer’s hot dry spells. Birds in the garden provide us enjoyment with cheerful song and comical antics and serve us as bug-eaters as well.

Outdoor potted plants require extra attention at this time. Water thoroughly every day, remove spent flowers, prune leggy growth and fertilize weekly to keep them looking their best.

One chore I do not look forward to is weeding. The old adage of “give weeds an inch and they’ll take over a yard” is no joke this time of year. Stick to a regular schedule of weeding in the early, cooler part of the day and after a rain or soaking, when the ground lets go of roots easier. Throw weeds onto a compost pile if you have one. Reduce weeding, and lessen the need for watering, by adding a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or rice hulls, to your garden. Enjoy and share your garden’s abundance with others.

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