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The Dog Days of Summer To-Do List

July 5, 2022

mid summer garden
Local garden during the height of summer
watering plants
Water wisely

A Water-Wise Focus: A saturating inch per week is optimal for most plants. Allow lawns to go dormant during a period of drought and regularly water only new annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees. Saturating plants about an inch a week is optimal for most plants. Plan to water early and on windless days to prevent evaporation.

container garded
Late summer container garden

Give Container Plants a BIG Drink. Plants confined to containers need extra attention on hot days to prevent stress and wilting. Check them first thing in the morning and again in the afternoon for soil moisture and signs of wilt. Certain containers in full sun may need daily or even twice daily watering during heat waves. Always water deeply enough that water runs out the drainage holes.


Fertilize annuals and tender perennials.  Every two weeks to once per month during the growing season, consider diluting a solution of organic fertilizer such as fish or seaweed emulsion for a simple, sustainable way to feed your plants.

echinacea plants
Deadheading echinacea facilitates flower bloom

Deadhead for extended blooms. Some plants, particularly annuals such as marigolds zinnias, and cosmos, may be tricked into extended bloom if they’re prevented from setting seed. For others, the seed heads are half the fun of the plant and may be allowed to remain for fall and winter interest, bird food, and self-sowing. Start collecting ripe seeds from your favorite early blooming annuals, biennials, and perennials. Keep them dry in paper bags, coin envelopes, or jars for planting the following spring.