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It’s hot out. Your plants need water, too

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They don’t call them the dog days of summer for nothing. August is the pinnacle of summer heat, and unless where you live has gotten an unusual amount of rain, your plants could be water-starved.

Lori Harms, Greenhouse manager and grower at Countryside Flower Shop and Nursery, in Crystal Lake, has the lowdown on how and when to water to keep your yard looking beautiful all summer long.

Watering trees, shrubs, evergreens, lawns and other in-ground plantings is simple: Apply sufficient water so that the soil around the roots is thoroughly moist, then allow to dry so air can penetrate the root ball, notes Harms. Avoid using a sprinkler, which lets water evaporate and miss roots where water is needed most. Instead, use a soaker hose 3 to 4 hours once a week, that penetrates deep into the soil, unlike sprinkling. Alternatively, lower the flow rate of your garden hose to a very slow trickle and lay the hose near each plant, allowing it to deep soak for 15-30 minutes each. Water plants in containers, hanging baskets and window boxes with a watering wand.

Water in the morning, adds Harms. “It gives the plant water for the heat of the day and lets leaves dry before nightfall to prevent disease.”

Three days after your first initial watering of a newly planted tree, soak it again three days after planting. Soak large trees every week until mid-November or the ground freezes. The second year, water every two weeks.

For shrubs, soak each plant three times a week for the first 6 weeks, and twice a week for the rest of the season, more often in extreme heat, wind or drought. Skip during heavy rains. Perennials and inground annuals should be soaked with a watering wand to 6 inches, once a week, at first, then 1 inch when established, says Harms.

Countryside Flower Shop, Nursery & Garden Center : 5301 E. Terra Cotta Ave (Rte 176), Crystal Lake, IL : 815.459.8130 : www.countrysideflowershop.com

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