Everyone knows that on hot summer days it is important to drink lots of water to stay well hydrated. The same is true for your plants.
Here are a few things to think about as you prepare for the watering season this summer:
Water Slow and Deep: This applies to trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials and especially to new plantings. The goal of watering is to have water penetrate all the way to the bottom of the root system. This helps to encourage a deep, healthy root system. You can do this using a drip irrigation system, a soaker hose, or a common garden hose. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems regulate the flow of water to your plants and can be a great help in summer watering. They are great when paired with irrigation timers. They may still need to be supplemented with spot watering.
If you don’t use a soaker system, then turn your garden hose into a soaker hose. You can do this by simply slowing the flow of water. To water trees and shrubs, simply place the open end at the base of a plant and allow it to trickle slowly for a prolonged period of time. This may take an hour or two. Just make sure that the flow of water is slow enough that it is soaking in and not running off into a puddle somewhere. When done correctly you will be able to water less frequently, even on the hottest days of summer.
Water Low: You want the water to get to the roots of the plant as direct as possible. A sprinkler is good for many applications but it can also do damage if used incorrectly. Many times the upper plant will be loaded down with water before any has really had a chance to penetrate the ground. This is especially important with new plantings that may not have been in the ground long enough to establish strength. It always makes me sad to see beautiful plants laying on the ground from to much overhead watering.
Too make sure the root zone is getting adequate water just dig with your finger in the soil just outside the root zone. The water should penetrate beyond the first inch or so.
Mulch: To help conserve water and hold moisture in the root zone add a 1 to 2 inch layer of mulch around plants. There are several different mulches to choose from and any number of them may work in your application. Here are a few things to consider with mulch:
-Bark mulch can be great around trees and established shrubs but may not be the best choice for annual and perennial beds or other beds that you will be planting or working in regularly.
-Many mulching choices will add to the health of the soil and not take from it. Many of our organic mulching choices, such as Soil Building Compost, will feed your soil which in turn will feed your plants.
When properly applied a mulch will help reduce weeding and in the event that you a weed does grow, will make it easier to pull. Think of mulch as a way to naturally conserve moisture for your soil and keep it cool. You will be surprised at how it changes the way you water.