The soil will tell you how much watering is needed

Installation of plant material can continue through the summer. Keep plants moist before planting to minimize stress on the new plant material.

Containerized plants can be difficult to remoisten if they are planted while dry. Be sure they have been watered before planting. Plants that are grown in containers have a lighter growing medium that will generally dry more quickly than your garden soil, thus will need more frequent watering until their roots go out into the surrounding soil. These plants may need watering a couple times a week during the first few weeks of establishment.

Newly installed balled-and-burlapped plants need about one inch of water a week. The amount and frequency of watering will vary depending on the type of soil in your garden and weather conditions.

Sandy, very well-drained soils will dry out more quickly than heavier clay loam soils so plants growing in those conditions tend to need more water to get established.

• Be careful not to damage trees during summer home repairs and improvements. Typical construction activities such as excavating, changing grades and moving materials around the yard can have a significant negative impact on your trees.

A tree's roots can reach well beyond the drip line (where the rain would typically drip off the leaves), depending on the type and age of the tree as well as soil conditions. The roots will spread less in heavy clay soils. This damage to the root system can manifest itself gradually over a few years with a slow decline in the tree's health and eventual death in some cases.

Twelve inches of wood chips spread along the construction route can help minimize damage to roots.

• Mow lawns at a height of 3 to 3½ inches to help reduce the weeds in the lawn. The taller mowing height will encourage a deeper root system and reduce stress on the grass as the typical hotter and drier weather of summer settles in.

• Tim Johnson is director of horticulture at Chicago Botanic Garden,

Stock photoWatering vegetables and herbs in raised bed. Fresh plants and soil.
stock photoWatering flower beds
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