Use summer months to plan for landscaping additions

The sun is out, it has finally stopped raining, and you might be thinking it’s a good time to start gardening. Traditionally, spring and summer are the time of year when many of us turn our attention towards enhancing our landscape and gardens. However, during the summer months, it’s best to focus on maintaining the plants we already have and then create a plan to add new additions in the fall.

Here are some tips for maintaining landscaping in the summer.

  • If your region is experiencing a high amount of rain (like we are in Kansas City), preventative measures can help. Excessive rain can promote disease that will cause stunting, decay on leaves, wilting and sometimes death of the entire plant. In order to prevent disease from spreading, make sure to get rid of any dead leaves from the plant and the surrounding area. When leaves are wet, it’s easy for disease to spread from plant to plant.
  • If you find yourself in a drought during the summer, help existing plants and trees survive. For all plants, add three to four inches of mulch to reduce water evaporation and to protect roots from the heat. Weeds compete for water, so make sure to pull them. To care for a tree, water it slowly and away from the trunk. Watering in the early morning or after sunset is best.

With fall only a few months away, make your plan for new additions. Believe it or not, many trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers prefer to be planted in the fall. This allows the new plant to establish roots before the dor­mant months of winter and then gain strength through the spring growing season before the hot summer months.

When planning, be sure to consult the USDA Hardiness Zone map. This will tell you the zone for your region and will help you to select plants that are appropriate to your climate and soil type. Choosing plants that are native to your area or have been proven to be hardy in your climate will ensure that your landscape will thrive, saving you time and money down the road. For example, if you are currently going through a drought, make sure to research and buy drought-tolerant plants.

This is also a good time of year to think about “hardscape” elements — like patios, walkways, borders, rocks and stone gardens. Once you have a plan in place, wait until the fall or winter to buy your supplies because your local hardware store may offer discounts or sale items then.

Two plants I’d recommend looking for are the daffodil, a pretty yellow flower, and a red maple tree.

The daffodil (Narcissus) grows best in zones 3-9. It is a true bulb that is planted in the fall, and it blooms in early spring. It tolerates the cold and is deer and squirrel resistant. Plant bulbs twice as deep as their greatest diameter. It prefers full sun.

“Narcissus.calcicola.7114” Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons


Red maple trees (Acer rubrum) grow well in zones 3-9. It has a showy red color in the fall, and is a good accent tree. It grows moderately fast and pre­fers partial shade.

Red Maple Tree
“Acer rubrum 001” by Willow – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

Do you have any landscaping or gardening tips to share? Leave a comment below or email me at