Essential Gardening Tasks

It’s finally summer — what better time to focus on your garden! A good garden can enhance the enjoyment of any delightful weather, so why not take some time to give it a bit of tender love and care. If you’re looking to spruce up your spruces, remember the words of Rudyard Kipling: “gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.


Test Your Soil

Many people don’t know that they can actually send samples of their soil to be tested, but it’s a great idea if you’re looking to populate your garden with some new arrivals. It’s recommended that you test your soil every 3-5 years as the nutrients will require specific fertilizer use and guide which plants are suitable for planting — e.g. if your soil is naturally acidic, it might be time for a hydrangea. Check out the Extension Service website of your state for instructions about how to send your soil sample for testing.



Pruning doesn’t need to be done to every plant, but some woody plants and trees really benefit from it. You should start by pruning broken and damaged parts of plants throughout your garden. If you have evergreens, try to cut back any growth you see fit, as long as it isn’t the initial growth associated with a new evergreen. Don’t prune back any shrubs that bloom in summer, but if you have early flowering shrubs like lilac or quince, summer is a far preferable time to prune compared to spring, when you might cut off flower buds you don’t see. Make sure your pruners are nice and sharp.


Trim Your Trees

Tree trimming is specialized pruning for trees and you might want to get some professional help if you want to tackle bigger branches, as they may increase your risk of injury. If you have a tree with branches that are starting to decay, perhaps from moss or insect infestations, removing a branch is essential to revitalize the tree, like amputating a limb to stop a disease from spreading up the body.


Choose perennials or plants with lots of roots

Annuals tend to have short or shallow root systems, which can lead to them drying out easily if the summer heat is particularly intense. If you choose plants like perennials or biennials, you can protect against those sorts of desiccations. If you buy heat resistant plants you will also have the added benefit of having to work less in the heat as you will only need to water them from time to time.


Protect your seedlings

Use a shade cloth to protect young and fragile seedlings from the heat in their all-important early days. Shade cloth is an easily available piece of equipment that you can get from many different garden or home stores, but be sure to come prepared with information about the type of seedling or starter plant that you want to protect so you can be recommended the right grade of shade, as many different grades are available.