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Hometown Farmer - Dealing with the heat

Hometown Farmer - Hot plants

You've planted a new tree, put a little mulch down, but are you watering it enough?

How do you get your plants through these dog days of summer?

"The evergreens can take it a lot easier than the deciduous trees," said Shawn Tabke, Manager of the Southdale Nursery & Garden in Sergeant Bluff, talking about the extreme heat Siouxland has seen all summer.

All the plants at Southdale have been feeling the heat this year, though.

"It's been a torturous summer so far, we've had to put a lot of water down," said Tabke.

He says this is the first year the business has put up a sun shade, protecting some of the smaller plants.

Even with the strong summer sun beating down, though, it still isn't a bad time to plant a tree at your place.

"They've been selling well," said Tabke. "We've been planting a lot."

It's especially good for trees raised in containers to get into the ground, even though it's hot.

Is what's best for'em, after all.

"Our best sellers have been the really big ones, you know," said Tabke, with a smile. "Put the picnic table underneath and turn around and run, because they're going to take off growing."

Did you plant a tree during this hot summer?

Maybe you're worried it isn't getting enough water?

Shawn says there's a simple test you can do, and it only takes one finger!

"One rule: use your finger, stick it down into the soil," said Tabke, with a laugh. "If it feels wet, it probably is wet, otherwise, you know, just soak it deep."

"That's the key on a tree," said Tabke.

Don't use fertilizer when it's this hot out, either, you don't want to encourage a lot of new growth that could just get fried.

Make sure you pour on that water.

Mornings are best, too, before it really gets scorching outside.

The last thing you want is for your new tree to dry out.

"Go out and look," said Tabke. "If you see any bit of stress at all, any wilting, hints of it wilting, hints of leaf browning at all, start pouring the water onto it until you get through the heat."

Drought and heat stress can open up trees to other problems, too, like bugs, fungus and disease.

If you think of a farmer that might be great on "Proud to be a Hometown Farmer," please email Jake at: jheller@siouxlandnews.com.

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