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Before the day at the beach, remember plants and trees might need extra water, too.


The month of travel, rest, and sun! August is also the start of what I call the “bone dry season” that lasts until the first rains. This season highlights the difference between thriving and struggling flora in our primarily Mediterranean climate. For example, the non-native chicory, Cichorium intybus, will bloom along unirrigated roadsides throughout California from June to the first frost. By contrast, many of our native perennials, shrubs, and some trees are already in their summer dormancy: when plants run out of water and fall into a deep sleep until rain wakes them up again.
In these monthly summaries, I have included a recommendation for deep water trees (primarily non-irrigated, non-native species) that can struggle during our dry summers. For example, supplemental irrigation is generally not recommended for citrus trees planted in the ground, as they can be easily overwatered. Deep watering means using a soaker hose or some other low-volume output to water the area under the canopy for an extended period. This period differs for different soils, but a standard recommendation will discuss hours rather than minutes while avoiding run-off. Continuing with this example, mature lemon, grapefruit, and orange trees may need a deep soaking every three to four weeks over the dry season. By contrast, maple trees, commonly native to moist areas, will likely need a greater watering frequency and probably not as deeply; therefore, maples are good candidates to be included in a regular irrigation cycle. My emphasis on water does not preclude other maintenance, such as the considerations listed below.

things to do

Continue Deadheading Pruning Profusive and Aggressive Vines and Climbers, such as Roses & Grapes
Keep Houseplants Well Hydrated
Deep Water In-Ground Rhododendrons, Camellias, and Non-Irrigated Trees
Selectively Retain Rose Hips for Birds or Cut Ornament
Check Fruit Trees if Branches Need Support Due to Fruit Development
Maintain Water Levels in Birdbaths and Water Features
Lightly Trim Conifer Hedges or Retain Growth for Winter Holiday Ornament

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