Summer Garden Chores

Until it’s time for cool-season sowing it’s time for fun (and chores) in the summer sun. Here’s what needs to be done to keep the gardens healthy and happy.

photo from The Weekend Gardener

photo from The Weekend Gardener

  • Tidy up. Heat and humidity breeds disease; why add more fuel to the fire with dead branches, spent flowers and fallen leaves? A tidy garden is a healthy garden. My rule of thumb: If it’s the formal garden, I clean. For the native section of the prairie garden, I remove only diseased material, letting the area stay as natural as possible.
  • Take photos and copious notes. Relax, sit awhile, enjoy your garden and think about what you like, what you love and what you wish you could change. Jot it all down in your garden notebook and take lots of photos for reference. As we shared earlier (link) photos really do tell the truth about a garden.


  • Spot water and deep water. Plants installed this year need extra water so they can establish a solid foundation. Take the time to water (early in the morning, if possible) and be sure to water deeply.
  • Clean tools. I am sure you gave them a good scrubbing last fall or early this spring, but even so, tools get dirty, rusty, dull and even nicked in spring. Clean tools and sharpen blades in preparation for fall pruning.
  • Give ponds a close inspection. Remove dead plant material and fish (oh, dear!) and invasive plants. The water level may have dropped in the heat, so top off the pond with de-chlorinated water.
  • Stock up. Make a list of fall necessities: bulbs, new bird feeders, bird seed and new trees and shrubs. If you can, start to prepare planting areas by marking them off and, if you can, clearing out unwanted plants. If you want to relocate plants to make room for new trees and shrubs, wait until the fall when the weather is more conducive to transplanting.

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