0:00 Baby, It’s Hot Outside, So Plant More Trees June set record temperatures on both land and sea. The globe’s sea surface is 70 percent […]

Published July 22, 2023 2:29 PM
3 min read


Baby, It’s Hot Outside, So Plant More Trees

June set record temperatures on both land and sea. The globe’s sea surface is 70 percent of Earth’s area and has set monthly high temperature records in April, May, and June. The North Atlantic has been off the charts warm since March.

So, what is a gardener to do? Act locally. DEMAND local officials plant trees, trees, trees. Plant them now. We have a talented and enthused DPW staff ready to plant. Just let them go to work. One hundred-plus shovel-ready street tree planting sites exist. All sites have specific native trees pre-selected. 

We all know trees cool their surroundings, reduce need for AC, cleanse the air, reduce noise pollution, mitigate flooding, increase property values, on and on. They truly are God’s gift to the environment. There is zero need for discussion.

Follow Mark Twain advice: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

While waiting for the wheel of government to rev up, here are some things to do in your own garden:

• Allow grass to grow higher between cuts to reduce turf stress.

• Grass is supposed to brown out in summer. So, relax.

• Better yet, reduce the size of lawn, expand native flower plantings. You will be greeted by charming butterflies and pleasant pollinators.

• Water your established plantings that have been parched by drought.

• Check container plantings twice daily when temperatures exceed 90° which is like all the time now.  Water in early morning when the top few inches of soil dry out.

• Weed! This is the perfect time to keep weeds from making seeds now. This will mean fewer weeds and less weeding next year.

• Water new groundcovers and weed them to encourage spreading.

• Complete pinching or cutting back of autumn-blooming plants now. Don’t pinch mums after late July, or you may delay flowering.

• Deadhead heavy-blooming perennials like tickseed/coreopsis every few days to keep them looking their best.

• Prune catmint, lavender, and other crowded or sprawling perennials to keep them in bounds.

• Cut back or remove any insect or fungus-ridden foliage, especially on phlox, peony, hollyhock.

• Deadhead perennials as blooms fade. Delphinium, phlox, Stella D’oro daylilies, and catmint will offer a second bloom if you cut them back.

• Prune out water sprouts. These are weak, green, and very fast-growing shoots that grow vertically from branches of fruit trees, redbuds, crabapples, dogwoods, and other ornamental flowering trees.

• Control mosquitoes by eliminating all sources of stagnant water.

• Add spent annuals, disease-free early vegetables, and seed-free weeds to your compost pile.

• Hot, dry weather is ideal for spider mite development. Control with a hard stream of water, which will kill many of them, or insecticidal soap.

• If you are away on vacation this month, have someone water your plants, especially those in containers, set up an automated watering system, or move to shady spots.

• Deadhead annuals to encourage continued bloom. Shear back tired-looking impatiens and petunias by half to rejuvenate them.

• Check staked perennials to see if they need to be re-secured or tied.

• Roses hate to be crowded and will become infected with fungus and do poorly if you allow them. Provide open space to promote air movement and minimize fungus. Remove infected rose leaves, pick up fallen leaves, and deadhead to a leaflet of five to promote reblooms. Use Neem oil to combat insects and fungus.

• Harvest daily. Vegetables such as cucumbers, green beans, zucchini, eggplant, and greens taste better when harvested young.

• Add second seeding of vegetables for fall harvest.

• The key to a healthy and low-maintenance garden is Mulch, Mulch, Mulch. It increases soil moisture, reduces weed competition, and improves the quality of fruits, vegetables, and ornamentals, while protecting tree trunks from weed-whacking lacerations. 

• NEVER volcano-mulch trees, one of the worst gardening ideas ever. If your gardener does, get another.

• Last and first-call: Write, stop on the street, or visit elected officials and City staff demanding the planting of more trees, NOW.

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