Water, water, everywhere….
…but not always where you want it, when you want it there! The legendary
kingdom of Camelot had a great rule - “The rain may never fall till after
sundown. By eight, the morning fog must disappear”, but in these parts we have to deal with what we get! In most cases, established plantings do just fine with what nature furnishes, but it’s a different story when it comes to lawns and newly planted trees and shrubs. Summer often brings hot, dry spells when supplemental watering is a MUST! Here are a few things to keep in mind:
For your lawn: If you have just seeded, don’t let the seeds get dry. Once the sprouting process has begun (even if you can’t see it) if the seed dries out it dies. Make sure you water it daily (or several times a day!) to keep the seeds moist, and you see them starting to grow.
Grass can be shallow – rooted, and fast frequent douses with water cause the roots to stay near the surface where it’s moist. When you water your lawn, water it deeply and thoroughly, which will encourage the roots to go deep, helping the grass prepare for the next dry period. Try for at least an inch of water each week.
Watering your lawn should be done early in the morning so it doesn’t evaporate as quickly and your lawn has something refreshing to sip on all day long!
Trees, shrubs, and flowers: Placing mulch around the base of your plants will help to reduce evaporation and protect plant roots from the hot sun. It also
reduces weeds, which are additional competition for the available water.
As with your lawn, trees and shrubs should be watered slowly, with water soaking down to the depth of the rootball. If you are using a regular hose, turn it on with very low pressure so that it trickles over and into the roots without running off. You will want to leave it on long enough to have applied a gallon of water for most shrubs, and up to 2 gallons for larger ones.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Even if your trees and shrubs get wet from an automatic irrigation system, it is not enough water to replace a thorough soaking.
For a row of annuals or perennials, a soaker hose is ideal. This method covers a lot of plants at the same time and delivers water
to the roots while you do something else!
Containers and hanging baskets have roots that are restricted, and cannot spread out to seek additional water during dry spells. Make sure your containers have drainage holes so roots do not sit in water and rot. You may
want to consider a water-grabbing product like SOIL MOIST to your potting
mix. These gel crystals expand with water, and then release the water into the soil as the soil dries.