With average summer temperatures reaching new levels of heat, it can feel like we’ll never catch a cool break. Is your nursery set up to handle the rest of the hot summer season and transition into the fall? It’s time to do a mid-summer check-in to help your gardens prosper well into the next season.
Nursery Gardening Tips for Summer
The summer heat can cause problems for your operation, but there are preventative maintenance measures you can take to reduce problems down the road.
Watering and Irrigation
As a nursery owner, you know watering your plants is a basic need for their survival. Ensure that your watering schedule is keeping pace with the heat of summer.
It’s also a good time to check that your irrigation system is functioning as it should. This amount of water usage can be a large expense for you. Consider installing a rain barrel and soaker hose to assist you in saving money on water.
Sunlight and Shade
The impact of sunlight on nursery plants in the summer can be beneficial for some, but shade is also important. Woven or knitted shade fabrics made from polypropylene, polyethylene or polyolefin are the most common materials.
Fortunately, installing these shades is simple. They are lightweight, easy to apply to your nursery and are available in several degrees of shade. The best part of shading — you will reduce light levels while gaining heat and saving energy.
Temperature and Ventilation
Nurseries should provide a controlled climate for plant production with ideal temperature and ventilation. Having the proper temperature in place is important in summer plant care because it helps the plants photosynthesize. Temperature and ventilation work coincidentally, as ventilation can reduce the temperature inside your nursery while also providing carbon dioxide to your plants. Additionally, ventilation can remove warm, moist air and replace it with drier air to create the ideal environment all year long.
Nutrient management is a key part of your nursery’s longevity. Fertilization during the summer months can give you the best maintenance of your soil and plants. However, be careful not to apply it to plants that may be overheated or stressed. When choosing fertilizer, common options for nursery plants are liquid or slow release.
For soil that is dried out, be sure to thoroughly water the plant, allowing it to fully soak in before applying fertilizer.
Pests can cause diseases and be deadly to many plants. Know what to look for and how to treat different types of pests. Common pests found in nurseries range from worms, ants, spiders, mites and slugs to name a few.
Should you find pests in your nursery, you can apply pesticides and insecticides to control this problem and reduce your risk of loss. However, there are preventative measures you can put in place before and during the summer to reduce these pesky problems. Watering plants at the soil, attracting beneficial insects that are predators to pests and pruning often are good places to start.
Regular pruning of your plants during the summer can help your nursery stay healthy. Removing weak parts of your plants, such as mildewed or spotted leaves, reduces the potential for secondary or opportunistic pests. Taking the time to ensure you have the right pruning tools for the job and that they are in tip-top shape can help the process go smoothly, and sanitizing between plants when you encounter pests or diseases will help reduce spread.
How to Prepare Your Nursery for Autumn
Autumn brings shorter days, less sunlight and drier conditions. Prepare your nursery for the fall by completing seasonal preparation that can help with overall plant health and prevent damage during the fall and winter months.
Clean Up and Maintenance
Cleaning up your nursery before fall is a good way to keep your plants healthy and your building in good condition. Nursery maintenance of your plants can look like removing weeds, pruning plants and disposing of fallen or dead leaves. This helps to avoid spreading diseases through your nursery.
Preparing Your Soil for Fall
Protecting your soil is a great first step in preparing your plants and nursery for a change of season. Testing your soil for its nutrient content is a great way to know what your soil may need to continue being productive. Typically, soil testing should be done every three to five years but doing it more often doesn’t hurt. Mulching around your plants is also a tried-and-true way to maintain heat and moisture throughout the fall season.
Plant Selection and Transplanting
Fall can be a good time of year to move or transplant certain plants. Taking the strong roots built through the spring and summer will help it be tough throughout the fall and winter. Be sure to check that the specific plant you may want to transplant will survive being moved in the fall.
Protection From Cold
While it may not be bitter all through the fall and winter where you are, cold fronts can bring unexpected issues for nurseries. To protect your nursery and plants from the cold, keep good maintenance of your building for temperature control. Be sure to monitor forecasts to plan for weather changes. Protecting your plants from the cold may be as simple as covering them overnight with plastic or a blanket.
Make Sure You're Covered
Conducting a mid-season check-in isn’t just great for the plants in your nursery but also for your business. Talk to your local Farm Bureau agent to ensure all your business needs are covered — from protecting your livelihood to helping you plan for the future, we can help.