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Beat the Heat: Landscaping Tips for Hot Months

When hot, dry weather threatens your landscape, there are steps you can take.

Different areas of your landscape react differently to summer drought conditions. To reduce maintenance, cut costs and ensure your trees, shrubs, flowers and lawn look as lush as possible during the D.C. Metro Area’s notoriously hot and humid summers, consider the following ways to help your landscape beat the heat.


Add Drought-Tolerant Plants or a Water-Wise Garden

Virginia’s climate sees a mix of rainy periods and periods without much rainfall, so trees and greenery that grow naturally in the region are your best bet to weather the dry periods. Native plants naturally resist pests and diseases, in addition to requiring less water than non-native species. When it comes to trees, Northern Virginia is home to many native options that a landscape designer can incorporate into your yard, including:

  • Downy serviceberry
  • Eastern redbud
  • Flowering dogwood
  • Scarlet buckeye
  • Sweetbay magnolia
  • White fringetree

Similarly, low-maintenance water-wise gardens feature drought-tolerant perennials that trap and retain water in order to reduce the overall amount of watering required. Examples of plants that would thrive in a Northern Virginia garden include:

  • Coneflowers
  • Black-eyed Susans
  • Goldenrod
  • Russian sage
  • Ornamental grasses

Properly Care for Trees, Shrubs and Plants

A prolonged drought can weaken plants significantly — even those that are considered drought-tolerant. It’s important to provide rescue moisture by periodically offering a deep watering.

Shallow watering —smaller amounts of water applied more frequently — cause trees, shrubs and woody perennials to rely heavily on water from you rather than natural rainfall. Plant roots generally grow where soil is moist, so shallow watering results in a shallow root system.

Deep watering allows for longer periods of time between irrigation and encourages a deep root system. If you’ve gone a few weeks without rain, perform a rescue watering by giving plants a long, slow soak that covers the entire root system in your landscaping. Established trees and plants will likely only need this type of rescue watering a couple of times during the summer. For those planted within the past year, provide a weekly deep watering during drought conditions.

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Water Turf the Right Way

It’s common for people to water their lawn too much, too often, and at the wrong times — resulting in a higher water bill and turf with increased disease, insect and thatch problems. Follow these tips to maximize your irrigation strategy:

  • Set controllers correctly to avoid using sprinklers when it’s raining or in the hot, midday sun. Water in the early morning before it gets hot to ensure that most of the water will make it to the roots.
  • Since different plants have different water requirements, create zones in your irrigation system that are tailored to different areas of your landscape.
  • Perform deep waterings with your lawn, too — instead of watering shallowly every day for 20 minutes, water deeply once a week for about an hour.
  • Right-size your lawn by devoting more space to natural areas, groundcovers or drought-tolerant plants.
  • Mow less frequently during droughts, since grass loses a significant amount of moisture through cut blades.

Use a Professionally-Installed and Maintained Irrigation System

A properly installed and maintained irrigation system delivers water to the right place, in the right amount, at the right time. Working with a professional landscape company will ensure you get a custom irrigation system based on the size, layout and needs of your planting beds and trees.

Consider the following benefits of installing an irrigation system in your yard:

  • An automated system is environmentally-friendly, eliminating wasted water and delivering the ideal amount of moisture based on lawn size, local rainfall and soil type.
  • An automated system saves you money on your water bill over time by only using the amount of water required to keep your landscaping healthy.
  • An automated irrigation system saves time and eliminates hassles, since you’ll no longer have to spend time watering plants or wrestling with hoses and sprinklers.

Rossen Lanscape’s irrigation specialists are certified in the design, installation and maintenance of irrigation systems. We also offer a seasonal irrigation adjustment program with scheduled visits to adjust the watering schedule in the spring, summer and fall. To discuss how to make your landscape more drought-resistant, contact us today.