Human nature starts us off in Spring with a great desire to do everything in the yard, clean-up, improve the lawn, and plant trees and shrubs. But when the “dog days of summer” roll around, and the biggest vacation month of the year appears on the calendar (August), summer vacation then "rules." After all that hard, sweaty yard work you deserve a break!
Newly planted trees and shrubs are like babies, they depend on us for a large part of their sustenance – primarily water. Watering becomes all the more critical with hot, dry weather. Without enough water plants will wilt, and if they stay wilted long enough they reach their end, technically known as the “permanent wilting point.”
The rule of thumb for watering landscape plants in our western Pennsylvania area has always been “water thoroughly once a week unless there is at least one-inch of rainfall.” With the extreme heat levels being experienced this July that watering frequency should probably be shortened to “twice a week,” especially for newly planted shrubs that came with lighter soil mix in plastic pots. If the ground is dry, try wetting it first, and then going back several times later to apply more water so it has time to thoroughly penetrate the soil.
Summary: When you’re buying yourself a drink in August, make sure your newly planted trees and shrubs are getting one too. Soak them before leaving and upon arrival back home. If you are gone longer or during an extra hot spell, arrange for a friend or neighbor to water your babies.
Well-established plants also appreciate a good drink during the dog days of summer and will reward you for it with a healthier and more beautiful future.