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OK, there’s no denying it - Summers can be a little tough on the landscaping for Houston homes. Most days June through mid-September are at least in the 90’s, and our proximity to the coast ensures warm, humid breezes. Houstonians have perfected the art of beating the heat, of course, and we have a myriad of ways - the backyard pool, Schlitterbahn water park, our good friend air conditioning - to keep us cool.
Our plants, on the other hand, don’t have it so easy. There’s nothing sadder than watching our flowers and shrubs, planted so lovingly in the spring, wilt and wither under the Texas sun. If you’re new to the Houston area - or just need a landscaping primer - here are a few tips to help summer-proof your yard.
Start with the right plants. According to Neil Sperry’s Complete Guide to Texas Gardening, few plants have a maximum temperature above which they can’t survive, but some plants are better suited to the length and intensity of Texas summers. Tropical plants such as bouganvillas and hibiscus are popular in Houston, as they prefer temperatures 60-90 degrees. Other plants native to Texas, such as southern wax myrtle, lantana and sage, are well-suited to hot days and are drought-tolerant. Crape myrtles are also a fantastic choice - and are ubiquitous in Houston neighborhood yards. They’re hardy, relatively easy to maintain and are full of bright, colorful blossoms - even on the hottest of days.
Plant at the right time. Houston’s moderate temperatures might lead some to think the area essentially has a 10-month growing season. While Neil Sperry says plants can grow in Houston from early February to mid-December, in reality “the summer separates the two real…growing seasons with 8 or 10 weeks of [intense] heat.” July is not the time to transplant your shrubs or start cultivating roses. If your landscaping does need some filling out, focus again on those native plants mentioned above, or filling in any bald spots in your lawn with St. Augustine sod, which is generally available from spring through September.
Protect your plants from the heat. Neil Sperry recommends acclimatizing plants gradually, exposing them to heat and bright light a little at a time if possible. Other tips he recommends are: shielding new plants from reflected summer heat (i.e. from windows); using plant food with potassium to promote heat hardiness; and mulch, mulch, mulch. A layer of mulch under trees and on plant beds helps keep temperatures steady (and generally cooler in summertime), conserves water and helps prevent erosion.
Water wisely. It’s advice you’ll hear often in Texas summers: water deeply and less frequently rather than doing a quick watering job every day. To quote Neil Sperry: “Deep watering encourages deep rooting,” and deep-rooted plants are better able to withstand weather and moisture variations. Avoiding the heat of the day, of course, is also wise. Morning and evening work better, although watering too late in the day can promote fungus or other plant diseases.
Sure, summers are hot but they’re also fun, so no point spending your weekends trying to salvage landscaping that wasn’t adequately prepared for the heat. Make a moderate investment getting your Houston home and yard in shape now, and leave July to fireworks and barbecue.
2M Realty has simple goals in mind: Simplify the real estate process, reduce stress for Buyers and Sellers, earn client trust, and keep client trust. These simple but lofty goals are backed by over 20-years experience as a Texas real estate broker and Houston Realtor.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.