After The Rainy Days Now What?

Pinching basil

These tired impatiens need cutting back and fertilized to have a colorful fall flower show.

First and foremost don’t stop watering thinking that your plants can go a long time with out watering. Yes, we are experiencing some cooler summer temperatures for the next few days, but it is still hot and lots of the plants are at their maximum need for water at this time of the year. By the time this is posted many of your plants need water now, as it has been several days since we have had any appreciable rain. Alway remember to water well and not sprinkle.
Many of our plants need pinching back now to remove old blooms. Basil, petunias, marigolds, zinnias, and salvias are just a few of the plants that can benefit from pinching or cutting out the spent flowers. If you have leggy plants that have stopped blooming, cut them back hard and lightly fertilize with a granular 15-0-15 or a dose of liquid fertilizer to encourage new growth and flowering.
Now is one of the most important times to control weeds. Hand pulling might be considered old fashioned by many, but with moisture in the soil I can pull lots of weeds and unwanted seedlings out by the roots. Another way to spot remove weeds is to put a herbicide, designed to control the weed or woody plant you are trying to kill, in a shoe polisher container with a sponge top and fill with the concentrated herbicide (always wear gloves when filling the container and dispose of them when finished). Cut the plant you want to kill within an inch or less to the ground and quickly dab the cut stem with the sponge top that contains the herbicide. I like a shoe polish container because it has a top that covers the sponge, and I can carry it with me and apply to weeds and plants I want to remove.
And finally, observe your garden and just see how it looks now. Clean edges, dead plants removed, old leaves that look ragged cut off, and other little things that make the garden look tired can be removed, and this will go a long way to help a tired garden that has been “beat up” by the heat look better. Keep gardening, fall will be here soon.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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