We’re fortunate that predicted high winds and rainfall from Hurricanes Laura and Sally did not materialize. We can’t let our guard down now, however; we still have months left in hurricane season. But we can at least allow the extreme anxiety produced by Sally to subside.
One factor that might help to soothe us is that, in the middle of hurricane season, we are also seeing a gradual transition to milder temperatures. Cool fronts begin to move through the state this month, bringing welcome relief from extreme heat and humidity. A cool front was expected to moved in Saturday to produce nighttime temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s and daytime highs around 80 over the next few days.
Summer is not ending — we will likely see more days in the 90s, and temperatures in the 80s linger well into October. But we are through the most intense heat of the summer.
For the next six weeks we will experience a gradual shift to milder weather. There will be cool spells followed by decidedly summerlike weather, but as we move into late October, cooler weather will begin to dominate. Generally, not until mid- to late-November do we experience the frosty cold weather and changing leaves that tell us that fall has finally arrived.
Much of what we do in the garden over the next couple of months is influenced by the coming changes.
Because we have had so much rain this summer, you may not be in the habit of watering your landscape regularly (hasn’t that been nice). We saw record amounts of rain in July, and abundant rain also fell in August. With high temperatures and rain keeping the soil wet, however, root rot was fairly common and led to the loss of fruit trees, young shade trees and shrubs.
Since late August, however, conditions have been relatively dry, and irrigation is needed now. When watering a landscape, you must apply the water slowly and over a long enough period of time to allow it to penetrate at least 4-6 inches into the soil. You can best accomplish this by using sprinklers, soaker hoses or even drip irrigation.
After a thorough irrigation, don’t water again until the soil begins to dry out. You can even wait for the plants to show slight drought stress. Deep watering should be necessary for established plants only once or twice a week, even during very dry periods.
Newly planted bedding plants and vegetable transplants will need more attention and will likely need more frequent watering. Irrigating two or three times a week, possibly more frequently, may be necessary while they get established.
There are a few other things you may need to attend to this time of the year.
Here at the end of the summer growing season, it might be a good idea to impose some order on those overgrown flower beds. In addition to cutting back plants where needed, groom the planting to remove dead flowers