The dog days of summer are upon us, and this ongoing drought in the Rochester area is making for unbearable conditions for our landscape plants. Here are some ideas of how to beat the heat and save the beautiful plants we’ve invested so much in this spring.

Plant Care

Check your plants for signs of dehydration. The most obvious sufferer right now is our lawns, unless you have a shade tree in your yard- your lawn is probably brown and toasty, can you see your footprints? Your lawn has likely gone into dormancy, which is okay! This is a normal response to stress of heat and drought- once cooler, wetter weather returns they will likely bounce back. If you choose to try and keep it green with water, an infrequent soak of about an inch per week in the mornings is best. If you must mow, mow high and keep your mower blades sharp.

Your other landscape plants aren’t as likely to recover, so watering them is imperative in times like this. Look for wilting, yellow or stunted leaves, thinness, gummy twigs, or dieback. Higher risk plants are anything planted in the last year, beds exposed to hot and drying winds, and plants with unnatural surroundings causing reflective heat (concrete, siding, asphalt, stone). I f you haven’t already, get on a solid watering schedule- drip irrigation hoses can be set on a timer to make this fool proof. With sprinklers, try and avoid runoff onto hard surfaces to save water. Keeping your planting beds mulched helps retain moisture as well as makes your plants pop!

Enjoy Your Yard!

Now is the time to consider where and how you prefer to use your outdoor space. Have a garden party to enjoy the fruits of your early spring labor! Now you can decide where you want that patio area and fire pit, or think about where a good place to plant a shade tree. A pergola is another great way to create shade.Look around and see where you might want more color or even privacy screening. Fall is a great time for planting, so let’s start planning now!

If mosquitoes are becoming a nuisance, there are environmentally friendly options such as garlic oil to keep the pests at bay.

Deadhead and fertilize your annuals and perennials now. Cut some of the faded blooms of your hydrangeas and bring them inside to enjoy. You should also be enjoying some of your crops from vegetable gardens by now.

Looking for some no fail flowers? Here are some perennials with blooms to bet on that withstand the heat:

  • Nepeta
  • Gold Sword Yucca
  • Black Eyed Susans
  • Coneflower
  • Hibiscus
  • Sedum
  • Sundrops
  • Lavender
  • Blanket Flower
  • Stella De Oro Daylilies
  • Russian Sage
  • Candytuft
  • Ornamental Grasses

Try doing your yard work in the early morning or evenings to stay out of the hot sun and remember to keep yourself hydrated as well as your plants!