Summer Maintenance for Austin Landscapes 🌞
Whether you're a devotee of the Texas sun or one of its withering victims, there's one cardinal rule for summer gardening here: your fall prep plans start now.
We here at OES install plants all year round, so there's no off season if you have the wherewithal to tend to the plant in the first three months as it becomes established; having an irrigation system is the easiest way to protect to your investment but you'd need to adjust your watering schedule whether it's by a robot or human hand. For those of you that like getting your hands dirty, water new plants deeply, so deeply, when they're first planted but not too often after; this is your chance to train their thirst and prepare them for our famous summers. Two to three times a week in the early morning for about 40 minutes in a plant's first year (except when minding the watering restrictions) will give the roots a good chance to grow. Organic seaweed is recommended for fertilizing early in this season, but once the high temperatures roll in save the fertilizer for fall. Remember that salts in fertilizers will zap precious moisture and can lead to scorching, so keep that tip in your pocket.
Austin's wealth of oak trees are ready for pruning from July to January, but be sure to seal those wounds with paint and clean your tools lest any bacteria disrupt your hard work. In mid-June you can weed wack and solarize. Cut down any plant matter, rake and remove debris and irrigate well (wet soil conducts heat). Transparent tarps perform this task best as they allow sunlight to pass through so heat is then trapped underneath, but use whatever plastic will get the job done. Pin down the edges of the tarps with landscape staples or bury the edges of your tarp under the soil so that no heat can escape and leave it undisturbed for at least four weeks - longer if you're preparing a particularly pesky plot with invasive plants like bermuda grass. A thermometer can be poked through the plastic to perform readings (110 degrees is your target low) but rest assured; a solarized plot in full Austin sun will be sufficiently hot to cook off pests and weeds. When you tear away the tarp, rake out any remaining genetics and roots, then sow your fall harvest straight away . Pumpkins, okra, cucumbers and peppers are great veggies to get going this month. Feeling too timid to plant in the blazing sun? Invest in a shade sail! (We know some pros who install these...)
If you've kept up admirably with mowing and general maintenance, let July be the month that you layer on compost (then mulch) bare soil. Hardy survivors like Red Yucca, Zinnias, Purslane, Echinacea and Vinca are safe bets to add color and pollinators to your flower beds in July. If you have robust shooting and legging on fruit trees, modest pruning is encouraged. Keep watering deeply in August and wait to plant again until September. If you're overwhelmed, seek help from a trusted gardener or landscaper and stay hydrated. If you're ready to upgrade your yard with a thoughtful design, give us a shout!
See you outside!