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Drought-Stressed-Perennials.jpg

Drought Stressed Perennials

I lost some perennials due to the heat and drought this summer, some are severely stressed and others just failed to bloom.  What special care if any do the struggling ones need?  Is it too late to plant and transplant this fall?

Fall rains and cool temperatures definitely help summer drought stressed plants.  Make sure the plants are properly watered throughout the fall. Topdressing (spreading a thin layer over the soil surface) with compost this fall or spring will add nutrients and improve the soil without damaging the roots of the already stressed plants.  Mulch the soil surface with shredded leaves, twice shredded bark, or other organic materials to conserve moisture and moderate temperature extremes.  Fall is a great time for planting.  Try to get the plants in the ground so they have a month or more to begin to establish.  Late plantings, especially tender plants, may benefit from a winter mulch.  Wait until the ground freezes and then cover the plants with a layer of evergreen boughs, straw or marsh hay to prevent frost heaving and increase winter survival.  

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