I don’t want to be a complete downer, but I recently saw a ‘Texas Summer’ meme that rang true and I wanted to share it. It basically said, “Just a heads up to all you newbies out there, Texas is currently just preheating.”
Temperatures have been pretty pleasant thanks to spring rainfall but it’s also inevitable that steamy and sizzling summer days will be arriving soon. Our plants take on a lot of stress during our summer months. Now is a good time to learn what you are up against and what you can actually do, if anything, about it.
Tips for Plants through Summer in General:
Our plants take on a lot of stress during our summer months. Summer’s scorching heat and dry winds, tend to beat up our plants and suck up the moisture in our soil. During summer, you will definitely need to water more.
During our San Antonio summers, disease and pest issues are more prevalent on our plants, and sometimes it gets so hot, we don’t want to even go out to tend to our gardens! But now it will be of utmost importance to be watchful.
Summer plant disease issues to watch out for: Fruiting veggies: early blight, blossom-end rot. Trees/Shrubs: cotton root rot. Turf: brown patch, gray leaf spot (p.s. it’s also time to apply a second application of weed pre-emergent (like Crew) to ward off sticker burs)
Summer pest issues to watch out for: Turf: chinch bugs, grubs. Trees: Webworms, Bagworms. Shrubs/Perennials: Lace Bugs, Leaf Rollers. Spider mites are very prevalent in summer and can grab ahold of any plant that is looking dry and neglected, and aphids also like to suck the sap of distressed plants.
Planting for Summer in San Antonio (June/July) :
Sod: In June, water short intervals daily so sod does not dry out. In July, you may have to water twice a day to keep the surface of the soil consistently moist. Most likely, you’ll need to keep to this watering schedule (whichever month you plant in) for at least 2-3 weeks while turf gets good roots established.
Trees and Shrubs: We generally advise waiting until early fall to begin planting these again. BUT, if you do what you’re gonna do, make sure you are prepared to water about every two days for the entire summer and into fall. Although… when it comes to Crape myrtles, yes, these are in tree/shrub category we say is best to plant in fall or early spring, but…these are generally in bloom so it’s a good time to buy to get the exact color you want. You will still need to be prepared to give extra attention through summer as stated above.
Tropical Plants: Hibiscus, Mandevilla, Esperanza, Pride of Barbados, Bougainvillea, Ti Plant,
Hot Weather Annuals: Purslane, Gomphrena, Vinca (periwinkle), Caladiums, Coleus, Copper Plant, Moss Rose, see more hot weather annuals here.
Veggies: During summer, it’s mostly harvesting time for early spring planted vegetables, and keeping your late spring veggies fed, watered, and adequately protected from pests and disease issues, so you can harvest mid to late summer.
There ARE some veggies you can plant through summer; pay extra care to their watering needs. See link for a summer veggie list.
Summer can feel like it moves really slow because the heat can beat the energy out of us, but don’t forget that by the end of July, it will already be time for our “second spring”. This is when we get to squeeze in another round of warm-weather crops before we plant our fall and winter crops. (Tomato seeds can be started and protected late June, and Tomato transplants will be in the nursery by mid to late July) Really? Yes, really. When it comes to gardening, the years actually fly by.
4 Pruning Maintenance Tips for Plants Through Summer (June/July)
- Turf is actively growing now, and through summer. Mow often (every 5 days or so), at the recommend height (see link).
- Pruning of blackberry canes that bore fruit is extremely important to do in summer for next year’s fruit production. Depending on the variety of your blackberry, you will either be pruning mid June or in July.
- Warm weather foliage plants (coleus, caladiums, lambs ear and also basil) should have any potential flowers pinched off to keep production of stems and foliage growing. This pinching technique also corrects ‘leggy growth’ on warm weather annuals (like vinca/periwinkle, begonias). It will encourage new, fuller growth.
- By the end of July, you can cut back woody perennials (salvia, lantana, plumbago, etc..) by about ⅓ so they will start filling in again and be ready for a full flush of fall blooms. (Offer some slow release fertilizer, scratching it into soil and watering it in thoroughly)
Summer is a big vacation month too! You make arrangements for your mail, your pets; don’t forget to make arrangements for your plants too. Here’s an extra blog for help with that. With all that being said, I truly hope it is a great summer for all of you!
~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy