August – More heat and less rain.
For all the residents who moved to North Central Texas recently, wasn’t July and the ten days of 110 degree weather fun. (Joke!) Get ready for August – what gardeners call “The survival of the fittest” – both for plants and humans. The good news is that those of us who were born and raised here know that school is about to start and cooler weather will be back.
Even our best Texas Super Star, EarthKind, sun and heat loving plant varieties were stressed during the July heat wave and will struggle in August. One remedy is to move the container plants into dappled shade. Try to create some type of shade for the in ground plants by using shade cloth or even garden art. Do not water during the heat of the day because this will only “stew and sour” the garden spaces. Get up earlier and water first thing the morning, while the coffee is brewing.
Don’t be discouraged – many Master Gardeners are saying our goodbyes to favorite seasonal plants as we decide how to utilize our water resources. Here is a great list from Neil Sperry’s Facebook page on how to best conserve water for the rest of the summer:
Decide which plants are most critical – most expensive to replace. Let me give you my own opinions.
• Flowers and vegetables: Generally can be replaced quickly and inexpensively. These would be the first plants I’d probably let go if I had to.
• Turf: Water only enough to keep it going. It doesn’t have to be lush. On the other hand, if lawn grass is important to your family’s activities, don’t let it dry out so badly that it dies out completely.
• Trees: These may not grow vigorously during hot, dry weather, but they’re more resilient than you might think. Soak them every couple of weeks with a soaker hose out around their drip lines. Otherwise, they should be fine. The water bags around their trunks are useless for mature trees.
• Shrubs: These take years to replace and are critical to privacy, beauty and your all-around landscaping improvements. This is a place to use the water you have available to you. Mature, established plants may not have to be watered more often than every week or two if you water them deeply. They’re worth the investment.
• Groundcover beds: Along the same lines, plantings like purple wintercreeper and Asian jasmine take 3 to 4 years to replace. It’s a shame to lose them because you decided not to spend a few dollars watering them on 3 week intervals.
We are at risk for drought conditions, so please be water wise in your landscape. Refer to the Water Wise section of ROCKMGA.
For answers to your gardening questions, Master Gardeners are now available on Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office. Stop by 915 Whitmore Dr., Suite B and a Rockwall County Master Gardener will be on hand to research questions and provide gardening information. If you can not come by in person, call 972-204-7660 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and a Master Gardener will respond to you in a timely manner. If the volunteers can not answer your questions on the spot, they will continue to research or will consult with a specialist that has expertise in the subject matter.
If you would like to be added to our email mailing list, please send your name and email address to: email@example.com.