Easy ways to help your lawn and garden survive summer vacation

Family posing together in back of vehicle

While you are having fun, don’t forget to provide a little love for your lawn and garden while you gone. Follow these simple tips so you can return to a yard that’s equally well rested.

It’s time for your much-anticipated summer vacation. But after tending to your yard and plants all spring, will they survive your week-long absence? Relax! Before you finish packing your sunscreen and bathing suit, just take a few minutes to do a little last-minute gardening. By following these simple steps, your lawn and garden may not even miss you.

  • Skip your weekly mowing. Slightly longer grass blades will help shade your turf’s roots so that they won’t dry out as quickly. If you don’t have an automatic sprinkler system, give your lawn about an inch of water just before you leave.
  • Fill a 5-gallon bucket with water. Pour a full bucket of water over each newly planted shrub or tree. That much water should be sufficient for up to 10 days. Mulching will help prevent the water from evaporating.
  • Do a little relocation. Transfer potted plants to a shadier area, so that they are out of the hot, plant-wilting sun. Move hanging baskets to ground level to protect them from any unanticipated winds. If possible, group together all these plants so that they can share the humidity they create. Trim and water them thoroughly just before you leave. If you live in a very hot climate, consider using store-bought watering devices. Or you can make your own by pricking one or two pinholes in the bottom of a two-liter plastic bottle, filling it with water and placing it into the pot.
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    While you are relocating yourself for the week, do the same thing for potted plants — moving them in under trellises or patio areas where they will get some shade cover.

    Prepare for a flowery homecoming. To keep your flower garden from looking abandoned by your absence, pull even the tiniest weeds. Remove any browning blossoms. Pinch off the annuals’ seed pods. Then encourage new growth by trimming all of your annuals. This will increase the likelihood that you’ll be greeted by fresh flower buds when you return.

If you have a fruit or vegetable garden, invite a friend or neighbor to pick and enjoy anything that ripens while you’re gone. They’ll appreciate the garden-fresh tomatoes, squash or berries much more than a “wish you were here” postcard!