Darrell Blackwelder: Are your florals droopy?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 2, 2019

The abnormally hot weather has put many outdoor gardening activities on hold. But as the heat lingers, it’s important to irrigate trees and shrubs, especially newly planted materials.
It’s critical not to over water newly planted trees, shrubs and flowers. Watering a plant every day often creates even more problems with root fungal and bacterial diseases.

It’s important to check the soil moisture before irrigation to prevent problems from overwatering. Large leafed landscape plants such as hydrangeas tend to wilt on hot days regardless of the soil moisture.

A good rule of thumb is to observe any wilted plants and shrubs early in the morning. If the shrubs are still wilted in the cool of the morning, then irrigation may be necessary.
The same situation applies to container plantings. Large containers, baskets, raised beds, etc. lose water quickly and it’s often necessary to irrigate daily — or even two times a day — in extremely hot weather and sunny locations.

Adding mulch conserves moisture, reduces water consumption and enriches the soil. Three to six inches of course mulch such as pine bark, pine needles, ground bark, etc. will reduce evaporation, cool the soil and aid in deterring weeds.

Darrell Blackwelder deblackw@ncsu.edu is the retired horticulture agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County.