Wow, what a wet year it has been! Although the weather may have made it difficult for you to work on your outdoor projects, our trees and shrubs sure have appreciated the rain. If the soggy conditions prevented you from spring plantings, we want you to know it is not too late. Yes, Spring and Fall are ideal but we plant all summer long. We are able to do so, mainly because we grow our plants in Root Control bags. These specialized grow bags promote a healthy root system, and keep them contained, which means we don’t have to cut many roots when removing from the field. The result is reduced transplanting stress. Other methods of growing and transplanting like “balled & burlapped” or “bare root” are not recommended for summer planting.
While we encourage summer planting, you do need to keep in mind that transporting and planting on a hot summer day will cause some stress. Here are some tips for planting in hot weather:
This is the time of year when we get multiple phone calls from customers who had spring plantings and are now concerned with the progress of their trees. They are saying leaves are turning yellow and falling off. We notice a trend; people get used to a spring watering schedule but don’t increase watering enough as temperatures increase. We have had a lot of nice, cool, wet weather which is great for establishing plants but you will most likely need to bump up watering in July and August. Also, with wet weather, it is common to falsely assume rainfall amounts are adequate. Keep in mind that your new tree’s roots are confined to a very small area so it has limited resources until they grow. Watering can be a complicated issue, so our best advice is to check soil moisture twice a week to know if you need to water or not. Don’t assume things are wet or dry until you feel the soil. The top few inches may appear dry or wet so use a trowel to dig down 4”-6” to know the exact moisture level.
We now have a handy watering guide to help you out. Click the button at the bottom of this blog post.
Japanese Beetle Watch
Tis the season for Japanese Beetles to make an appearance. They usually show up in central Iowa around the first week in July. They are easy to identify; about the size of a large pea with bright, metallic green wing covers and tufts of white hairs on both sides of their abdomen. You may have been noticing False Japanese Beetles in the last few weeks. These are not nearly as bright green and are lacking the white tufts and do relatively small amounts of damage. True Japanese Beetles on the other hand, are invasive, non-natives and are much more problematic. Check our blog again in a few weeks for another post with ways to deal with these pesky pests.