By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist
Saturday, May 28, 2007
“Garden Tasks in June”
Hot weather is here again. The aquifer is relatively high, but
it can drop quickly if we use too much water on our landscapes.
Water the lawn before 10 in the morning or after 8 in the evening
for most efficiency and to obey the law. Lawns with at least four
inches of soil can perform well with once per week watering. The
best plan is to follow the SIP watering recommendation every week.
Visit the SAWS website at www.saws.org and click on Conservation
to obtain more information and to enroll. The weekly e-mail watering
recommendation is free and you do not have to be a SAWS customer.
In 2006, 7000 homeowners participated (one half from outside the
SAWS area). They saved 20% of their water on average and had green
If you do not want to participate in SIP, a good rule of thumb
is .75 inch/week for St. Augustine and Zoysia in the sun, .50
inch for Bermuda in the sun or St. Augustine and Zoysia in the
shade. Buffalo grass will stay green with a little less than .5
inch per week.
The tomatoes will do most of their production in early June and
serious gardeners pull the plants at the end of the month. Such
a strategy allows you to avoid severe spider mite and fungus build
ups. The new tomatoes for autumn production can be planted after
mid July. Peppers, eggplant, okra and southern peas will produce
through the summer if you keep the fruit picked and they receive
Roses decline in June and do not perk up again most years until
August or September. Belinda’s Dream, Katy Road and some
of the other tough roses may bloom in June if the temperatures
are not too hot. Water your hybrid tea roses every week. Old fashioned
or the tough modern rose may only require a deep watering every
month. You can discontinue the insect and fungicide sprays until
the autumn growth spurt begins.
Cosmos will bloom in four or five weeks if planted by seed. They
will also reseed themselves and bloom continuously until cold
weather. Use moss roses or purslane in hanging baskets and for
a low growing bloom in the flower bed. Vinca and zinnias can be
planted as transplants in full sun. In the shade begonias, coleus
and caladiums provide good hot weather color.
Your established trees can easily live through the summer without
supplemental watering, but irrigate trees planted this year whenever
the soil under the mulch dries to one inch. Established trees
in stressful situations (parking lots, construction sites, high
traffic zones) should be watered once per month if we do not receive
at least one inch of rain in the month.
The birds do not need seeds from our feeders in the summer, but
water is very useful to them. A bird both rinsed and filled every
day works well. Running water is especially attractive and will
bring many species into your yard for easy viewing. Hummingbird
feeders need to be rinsed and filled every week. The young of
the season will show up at the feeders in June. Only the black
chinned hummingbird nests in San Antonio and points west, but
two other species migrate through in the Spring and Fall.
June is not the best month to plant shrubs, trees and perennials,
but it is possible if you are careful about watering. There are
some hot weather loving plants however that prosper even when
planted this month. Lantanas, vitex, esperanza, poinciana and
the blue salvias fit in that category. Use mulch on the soil over
the root system to increase the success of summer planting. Add
drip irrigation or a soaker hose and it is easy to keep them watered
without using excessive water. The drip irrigation emitters regulate
flow of water, but with a soaker hose it is important only to
turn the spigot a ¼ to ½ turn to insure that the
water just trickles out.