Spring may be over, but your work in the garden isn’t done! Your summer garden can be just as beautiful and lively as your spring one.

Plan and plant. Think about what you want to include in your garden. In the heat of our Middle Tennessee summer, you’re going to want to include drought-tolerant plants in your beds. This will help conserve water and keep you out of the heat. Check the plant’s tag for mention of drought-tolerance, or ask the experts at your local garden center.

We love the bright colors of coneflowers, black-eyed Susans and lantana! You’ll still have to water drought-tolerant plants; they are just able to stand not being watered for a longer period of time.

You’ll also want some trees for shade. Native trees are already adapted to our climate and are therefore more drought-resistant than other varieties. Take a look at loblolly pines, red maples, or an elm. Any tree will need to be thoroughly watered when first planted but once it has established itself in your garden after a year or two, the native trees will tolerate dry conditions.

 In the meantime, you can use a slow-release tree watering bag to save yourself time and water. Trees need about a gallon of water per foot of tree.

While it’s fresh on your mind, think about your spring planting. What worked well this year? What would you change next year? Make notes so that you are prepared when you start thinking about next spring’s garden.

Time for a trim. Do you have any plants that are getting leggy and out of control? Cut them back by one-third to keep them looking good. Check out your sweet potato vine, salvia, basil and petunias for any needed pruning. Make sure you’re also deadheading plants as blooms fade. Remove any spent blooms by cutting the stem down to a leaf node or a new bud.

However, don’t take the shears to any spring-flowering shrubs. If you remove those branches now, you’ll be removing next spring’s flowers. You can deadhead spent blooms on oakleaf and bigleaf hydrangeas now, but don’t do so after fall has begun. Hydrangeas are also having a problem with black spot (dark blotches on leaves) right now — to treat, simply spray them with copper fungicide.

The doctor is in. Check out your plants for signs of disease or pests. Not sure what you’re seeing? Bring a picture or a cutting to your local garden center for help.

Scorch and heat stress are common summer problems, so keep an eye on how much water your plants are getting. Don’t forget that plants in a container will need to be watered more frequently than plants in the ground. You may need to move especially scorch-prone plants to a shadier location.

Before you hop in the pool, get your hands in the dirt! Our team at Martin’s Home & Garden can help you find the plants and tools that you need to help your summer garden shine.

Jennifer Brown is the Marketing Coordinator for Martin’s Home & Garden. The family-owned full-service garden center has proudly served the Rutherford County community since 1982. Martin’s Home & Garden is located at 1020 NW Broad St. and can be reached by phone at (615) 867-7121.

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