1. Share produce with neighbors, friends, or relatives.
2. If can't share produce, consider removing developing fruit before leaving to prevent rot in garden for those that mature quickly (cucumbers, zucchini, …).
3. Water well before you leave. A good irrigation will last 10-13 days. Mulch helps
4. Use a timed watering system. Program for 1" water or 2 hours each week (if hot forecast maybe 2 times per week).
5. Deep water new trees and shrubs with root probe or soaking if gone long time. Also can use watering "bag" devices.
6. Flowers - deadhead before leaving so you'll have more flower buds (and blooms) when you return!
7. WEEDS! Cultivate, hoe, and mulch before leaving (if possible).
8. Containers Care - Have someone water them for you or move them in groups to a shady location to minimize water loss. Set a hose and time to water while gone. Other ideas: water absorbing gels and self-watering containers.
9. GRASS - mow before leaving, but not shorter than normal which might stress it. If hot, the grasswill go dormant if not watered (that's ok). Have someone mow for you if needed. If long when return, mow high and again a few days later a bit lower until at desired height (2-3").
10. Don't fertilize before leaving. This stimulate growth that needs more water.
You can learn more about the University of Illinois Extension Office by visiting their website, Web.Extension.Illinois.Edu/fmpt.
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