What Not to Do in the Garden

by Paul James

Given the dome of heat and humidity that seems to have perched directly on top of us – and with little if any relief in sight -- I thought now would be a good time to remind you what not to do in the garden. Here it goes.

Don’t spray with oil-based products in the middle of the day. This includes horticultural oil and Neem oil. Although they’re great, all-natural pesticides/fungicides, they can be phytotoxic, meaning they can burn leaves, especially when temps are in the 90s. Instead, apply oil-based products after sundown.

Don’t cut your grass too short. The height of your turf is roughly equivalent to the depth of its roots, and this time of year you want the deepest roots possible. So raise the height of your mower at least one notch, regardless of the type of turf you grow.

Don’t allow water to stand in pot saucers, or anywhere else for that matter. It’s mosquito season, after all, and those little buzzers need only a thimble full of water to lay their eggs.

Don’t apply fertilizer too aggressively. Feeding plants when it’s this hot forces them to grow at a time when they’d rather take a break. If you feel you must fertilize, use half the amount recommended on the package. Otherwise, wait another month or so.

Don’t plant large trees or shrubs this time of year. The odds of them surviving aren’t good at all, so better to wait until things cool off a bit.

Don’t overdo it. Take frequent breaks, drink lots of water, and try to get your gardening chores done early in the morning.