Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Drought Prevention

Juillet 17Drought is common in July and August … and so are municipal or state watering restrictions! The best way to avoid problems with your plants (and with the powers that be!) is to apply up to 3 or 4 inches of organic mulch (wood chips, shredded leaves, etc.) over the soil in flowerbeds and vegetable patches as well as over the roots of trees and shrubs. Mulch reduces evaporation, so the soil will remain moister, even in the heat of summer. Even mulch applied when your garden is already suffering from drought can help, but it is more efficient to mulch your garden before the drought begins, thus stopping evaporation before it starts.

As for lawns, just let them go into summer dormancy. Yes, they will become completely yellow, but will green up again with the return of fall rains. So simply don’t bother watering your lawn during a drought.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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