Summer Landscaping

Summer landscapes and gardens are in full swing now. The biggest issue many places are facing is the drought, but there are other things to deal with in your gardens other than just irrigation. Here are a few things to do in your landscape or garden related to weeding and feeding the garden.


Weeds are always a problem in our landscapes, and it seems they are more abundant in drought years. I fight many weeds in my gardens as well. Hand-pulling can be a great stress reliever and a simple way to manage weeds in your garden, but in some cases that is hard to keep up with. Other methods to fight weeds include mulching the garden and using Preen where allowed according to the label. Preen can be used to stop annual weeds before they germinate and will likely need to be reapplied once through the season.

As for other herbicides, it is too late in the season to use 2,4-D products as they can turn into a gas in the hot summer days and move more easily to non-target plants, like our landscape plants. It is not advised to use 2,4-D or Dicamba products once the temperatures are consistently above 85 degrees as they can turn into a gas for 72 hours following application in temperatures above 85 degrees. Glyphosate products can be used as a spot spray or by painting it on leaves of the weeds in your garden and are not affected by temperatures like 2,4-D products. However, glyphosate may not work as well on some weeds and can harm your desired plants if they are hit with the spray particles. If you are using a glyphosate product for this, be sure to use the one that only contains glyphosate and not one of the other formulations that are now found on the market that could be harmful to your landscapes.


When weather conditions change to the heat of the summer, it is hard to keep your plants thriving. It may make you think that fertilizer is needed for your plants, but that may not be the right tool. If you plan to fertilize in the heat of the summer, be sure to apply it correctly to avoid harming the plant.

Always make sure that your plant is well-watered and not drought stressed before you fertilize it. If you fertilize a plant under drought stress, you will burn the leaves of the plant, causing more stress. Also, it is never a good idea to fertilize a stressed plant, as this can further stress the plant. However, if your plant is in good health but looking like it needs a little boost or maybe has a nutrient deficiency, you can fertilize it with a water-soluble fertilizer if necessary. Remember, it is always a good practice to do a soil test prior to fertilizing to ensure that you don’t overdo it on any nutrient.

I have been seeing a lot of trees with iron deficiency lately. You can help the tree out by adding elemental sulfur to the soil surrounding it. This is a better practice than adding iron to the soil around the tree. In most cases, our soils have plenty of iron but our clay soils hold onto the iron particles very tightly, especially in drought stricken soils. So, adding iron to the soil will not help, it will be better to alleviate the pH issue and release the iron to tree roots for absorption by lowering the pH with sulfur.

*Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by Nebraska Extension or bias against those not mentioned.

Nicole Stoner
Extension Educator at Nebraska Extension
Nicole Stoner is a Nebraska Extension Educator based out of Gage County in Beatrice, NE. Nicole is an ISA Certified Arborist and is Tree Risk Assessment Qualified. She obtained her Master's Degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for Horticulture with a minor in Insect Science and she has Bachelor's Degrees in both areas. Nicole's focus areas include: trees, shrubs, lawns, gardens, and insects.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.