Yard and Garden: Perennial Summer Garden Tasks

Yard and Garden: Perennial Summer Garden Tasks

Summer is a great time to enjoy a perennial garden. Summer flowers such as daylilies, yarrow, butterfly weed, blanketwort and purple coneflower light up the garden in June and July. Keeping perennials healthy and attractive all season long requires some care during the summer months. In this article, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach gardeners answer frequently asked questions about caring for and maintaining your perennial garden in the summer.

How often and at what time of day is it best to water the garden?

The frequency of watering is determined by soil characteristics, weather conditions, plant type and other factors. In general, a deep watering once a week in dry weather should be sufficient for most flower gardens. When watering gardens, water slowly and deeply.

Early morning (5-9 a.m.) is the best time to water the garden using a sprinkler, garden hose, or other device that wets the plant’s leaves. When watering is complete, the plant’s leaves dry quickly. Rapid drying of the plant leaves helps prevent the development of fungal diseases. Additionally, morning application allows the water to soak deeper into the soil with little water loss due to evaporation.

Midday irrigation is less efficient due to rapid evaporation. Watering in the evening with a sprinkler or garden hose can cause greater disease problems as the plant’s leaves are likely to remain wet throughout the night.

Morning and evening are an excellent time to water gardens when using a drip irrigation system or soaker hose. Watering in the evening is not a problem because these methods do not wet the plant’s leaves.

What perennials benefit from dead ends?

Deadheading is the removal of spent or faded flowers. Removing deadheading improves the appearance of plants, may encourage another flush of flowering, and prevent self-seeding.

Perennials that improve appearance with dead ends include bearded iris (iris), peony (pioneer), sheep ear (Byzantine Staches), perennial geranium (Geranium), daylily (Hemerocallis), hosta (Hosta), and coral bells (Heuchera).

Many perennials benefit from deadheading to prolong flowering or promote bushiness, including yarrow (Yarrow), tick (Coreopsis), blanket flower (Gaillardia), daylily (Hemerocallis), garden phlox (Phlox), sage perennial (Salvia(And the speed increased)Veronica).

Easily replanted perennials take advantage of deadheading to prevent setting seed in other areas of the garden. These perennials include columbine (Aquilegia), lily berries (Household irisBluebell flower (Grace), purple coneflower (Echinacea), garden phlox (Phlox paniculata), Campion (lychnis) and Goldenrod (Solidago).

How do I control weeds in my garden?

Maintaining and controlling weeds when they are young is essential for good weed management. This requires persistence throughout the entire growing season to remove weeds as they appear. There are two basic types of grasses in the garden: annuals and perennials.

Annual weeds grow quickly, flower, set seed and die in a single season. New annual weeds, such as crabgrass, purslane, knotweed, lamb’s quarter, and foxtail, sprout from seed every year. Perennial grasses die back to ground level in the fall but send up new growth in the spring. Perennial weeds, such as dandelions, quackgrass, thistle, pokeweed, and plantain, reproduce by seed and may spread by crawling up or under ground stems or spreading root systems.

Cultivation, hand pulling, mulching and herbicides are the primary means of controlling weeds in the home garden. Annual weeds can be effectively controlled by cultivation, hand pulling, mulching and the use of pre- or post-emergence herbicides. Perennial weeds are best controlled by hand pulling or spot treatment with a non-selective herbicide.

What perennials can be pinched or cut?

Some perennials benefit from pruning in early summer. Cutting removes 25 to 75% of the total plant. When done after flowering for spring flowering perennials, it can promote new regrowth that is more attractive, and possibly rebloom later in the season. Perennials that benefit from cutting back after flowering include lady’s mantle (Alchemilla), Columbine (Aquilegia), pink (Dianthus), silver hill (Artemisia), filamentous leaf core (Coreopsis verticillata), perennial geranium (Geranium), mint (Nepeta(and perennial sage)Salvia).

Summer and fall blooming perennials can be pinched in late spring to early summer to produce vigorous, compact growth that is unlikely to become spindly or floppy. Pinching removes the top of the stem by 1 to 2 inches to promote branching. It may delay flowering by a week or two but can promote more flowers in certain species. Perennials that should be pinched before flowering to control height include asters (Symphiotrichum), mothers (chrysanthemum), Joe Bay Herbs (Eutrochium), false sunflower (Helianthus Helianthoides), bee balm (Monarda), will last a long time (Helotelephium), and balloon flower (Playtcodon grandiflorus).

Should I share resilient plants?

Some types of perennials, such as peonies (pioneer), delphinium (obstacle), and Dahlia (Dahlia), may require staking, especially when they start to bloom. Fastening materials include wooden, bamboo, metal or plastic pegs or rings. A mesh of wire, bamboo or string placed over young plants allows the stems to grow and gain support. Likewise, curly branches can be placed in the ground to provide a more natural-looking support material.

Ideally, the supporting material is placed early in the growing season, and the plant can grow through it. When sized, the compact material is hidden by the plant’s leaves once it reaches its mature size. If your perennials need stabilizing after they have reached their mature size, placing a few stakes around the perimeter of the plant surrounded by unobtrusive twine or twine at varying heights can help hold the stems upright while allowing for plant movement. Individual stems can be supported with stakes carefully placed at the base of the stem. As it grows, tie the trunk loosely to the stake with string every 10 to 15 inches, leaving a little slack so it can move in the wind.

Shareable images: 1. Purple coneflower in the perennial garden. 2. A summer garden with tick seeds, Russian sage and blue spruce.

    (tags for translation) perennial gardens

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