Blooming Garden Designs

Specializing in Natural and Sustainable Landscapes

Best Practices: Watering Plant During Drought

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Watering Tips

As a general rule:  it’s almost always better to water too little than too much. However,   Bloomington/Normal little rain in the month of June ( down over 3” ) Our region is now officially in a drought and with high heat and humidity–   It’s time to Water NOW

Listed below are some tips the best way to water.

When to water:

  1. When the soil is dry.  Soil that cannot be formed into a ball istoo dry to supply water to plant roots.
  2. Water when plants first begin to wilt. The needles of evergreen shrubs and trees will become dull-colored when water-stressed.  Leaf browning (scorch) is a sign that drought damage has already occurred.
  3. Water in early morning, if possible.  Evening watering is fine although it may contribute to disease problems.

How much:

  1. A good rule of thumb is to apply 1 gallon of water per square foot of root zone once a week. This will vary depending on soil type, the type of plant, and its growth stage. For example, large vegetable plants, like tomato, squash and cucumber, that are fruit-laden require large amounts of water and may need to be irrigated 2-3 times each week during a drought. If you water with a garden hose without a nozzle, simply make note of how much time it takes to fill a 5-gallon bucket.
  2.  Check the soil wetting depth with a screwdriver or stake. To adequately wet the root system you need to thoroughly moisten the top 4-6 inches of soil.

Application Methods:

  1. Pull back your mulch to be sure the water is getting past it to the root-zone It is very important to apply enough water to thoroughly wet the root zone.
  2. The larger the plant the larger the root zone. The root zones of trees and shrubs extend out from the trunk in an area at least equal to the height of the plant.
  3. Water plants slowly and deeply at least once each week during very hot and dry weather. Apply water around the base of herbaceous plants (vegetables, flowers and herbs) so that it percolates on through the soil to the root zone.
  4.  Invest in soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems for vegetable, fruit, and flower gardens. These operate at low pressure and deliver water slowly and efficiently to the root zone.
  5. Water plants slowly and deeply at least once each week during very hot and dry weather. Apply water around the base of herbaceous plants (vegetables, flowers and herbs).

More tips to follow on setting water priorities and suggestions for a   xeriscaping landscapes of the Midwest.

Till next time…happy gardening

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