How to Take Stock of Problem Areas in Your Garden

It's not too late to salvage empty spots, but new plantings will need some extra TLC

May 22, 2014

Planting mid-summer can add the extra oomph your garden needs.

Planting mid-summer can add the extra oomph your garden needs.

PHOTO BY BETH STETENFELD

Early summer is a good time to step back and observe your garden. When most of the perennials have emerged and the shrubs and trees have filled in, you can take stock of empty spots and problem areas.

Perhaps you have a section in dry shade that needs attention after our recent droughts. Or maybe a few plants didn’t survive the extreme cold we experienced this past winter.

It’s not too late to add perennials to your landscape. Just remember they’ll need a little extra TLC to get established. Here are a few best practices to help new landscape plants settle in for the summer:

  • Add Epsom salts and compost as soil amendments when you plant. Both will add nutrients to the soil around the roots to give the plant a solid start.
  • Water liberally right after planting, and then daily in the morning for the first week, if it doesn’t rain. If it rains heavily soon after you plant, you can scale back on your watering efforts. (Note: Succulent plants and some other species need much less water.)
  • Continue to water as needed, but scale back throughout the summer. Too much water can be just as detrimental as insufficient water, especially for succulents and plants that prefer drier soil.
  • Soak the root zone—the area below the plant and roughly extending to just beyond the perimeter of the plant.
  • Add mulch around the plant, to help retain moisture and provide organic matter to feed the soil. Mulch also helps prevent erosion and slows evaporation.

Good luck, and happy gardening!

Beth Stetenfeld is a McFarland-based editor, writer, master naturalist and creator of the gardening blog PlantPostings.com.

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