Summer Gardening Tips

Summer Gardening Tips

150 150 jcharlow


During these hot summer months, some of your plants will flourish, and others will struggle; but with some tender loving care, all should survive. Adequate water in the root zone area should be your greatest concern. However, do not waste water. Using plenty of mulch in the soil when you plant will stabilize soil temperature and help retain moisture. Using a layer of mulch on top of the soil will help to reduce the rate of evaporation. Watering early in the morning also reduces water losses due to evaporation. Many plants grow rapidly now, so fertilize regularly.


  • To be sure you are not using more water than your lawn needs, place several empty cans around your lawn area.
  • After you have watered the lawn, measure the amount of water in each can.This not only tells you how much water you are applying, it also tells you how evenly the water is going in.
  • Two or three inches of water per week (about an inch at a time) should be adequate.
  • Fertilize every 4-6 weeks with a slow-release lawn food.
  • Apply a pre-emergent weedkiller to control crabgrass and summer weeds.
  • Mow regularly (as soon as a ½ inch of new growth appears). Hybrid Bermudas (Tifgreen) should be mowed at ½-1 inch; common Bermuda at 1-1 ½ inches.


  • Plant in hottest, sunniest location (usually south and west walls).
  • Do not overdo the water.
  • Water thoroughly just before wilting point.
  • Prune back any extra long shoots.

Summer Flowers

  • Add lots of organic matter (mulch) to flower beds to retain moisture.
  • Water to a depth of at least 12 inches and frequently enough so that soil is consistently moist (not soggy) to a depth of  2 + inches.
  • Fertilize frequently (every 3-4 weeks) throughout the summer.
  • Cut off dead flowers and pinch back leggy stems to encourage new growth and more bloom.
  • Newly planted flowers may require water more than once a day until established.

Summer Woes – Insects and Diseases

  • Watch for sudden wilting of all foliage on a tree or shrub
  • Look for signs of a dirty, white cake frosting material on the soil under the tree branches. You may have Texas root rot. Be prepared to treat immediately and very possibly lose the plant.
  • Watch for fluffy, white globs on prickly pear cactus. This is cochineal scale. Treat by blasting with water. If that does not work, try Sevin Insecticide.
  • Watch for dying branch tips 6-8 inches long. Close inspection may reveal ¼ inch slash marks, and a female cicada may have laid her eggs in this slash mark. No control is feasible, and damage generally is not severe.


  • Water deeply and regularly.
  • Fertilize every 4-6 weeks with recommended rose food.
  • Apply chelated iron (must be chelated) if leaves turn yellow.
  • Remove faded roses to keep new ones coming.
  • Prepare for fall bloom by pruning back the latter part of August.


  • Fertilize to gain rapid summer growth.
  • Deciduous fruit trees, citrus, and desert trees grow rapidly now, so give them adequate water.
  • Water to a depth of 2-3 inches when you do water.
  • This is a good time to select and plant citrus, fruit, and desert trees.


  • Like warm soil, so summer is a good time to plant.
  • Plant in fast-draining soil rich in organic matter.
  • Older plants can be cut back one-third in May to encourage new growth.
  • Fertilize regularly (every 4-6 weeks).
  • Select a warm location because hibiscus often suffer from the cold.
Harlow Gardens
5620 E. Pima St., Tucson, AZ 85712
(520) 298-3303