Since temperatures remain on the high side, plants use most of the water they take up just to stay cool.
So it's important to keep plants well watered during hot, dry weather. Homeowners need to water lawns, shrubs, trees, annuals and perennials once a week with three-quarters to 1 inch of water.
There's no need to water established plants every other day, but you may need to water container plants each day, if not twice a day.
Make sure plants have a 3- to 4-inch mulch over the roots. Mulched beds are best and should cover the roots at least to the edge of the branches. Mulches keep roots moist and cool. Roots die when they dry out so pull the mulch back away from your house a foot or so.
This can reduce the number of insects coming into the house. Keep the mulch pulled back from tree trunks by making a moat ring.
Do not dig around plants when it is hot and dry. Roots are damaged whether you see them or not, and hot, dry weather makes it hard for roots to re-grow.
Do not fertilize because fertilizer is a salt. It requires water to be active, and over-fertilizing can damage roots.
Also, try to reduce pruning where possible. Pruning leaves and stems, can cut off some of the plant's water and food reservoirs. Waiting until fall rains begin to plant shrubs, trees and perennials is also important. Plants will have a better chanceof surviving and doing well by waiting until fall -- but no later than Sept. 15 -- to give plant's roots a chance to get established.
Email your gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your questions to Sarah Fernandez, c/o Quincy Herald-Whig, 130 S. Fifth, Quincy, IL 62301.