Timely tips from Don: WATERING! (June)
We are starting the summer season, and unlike last year we are leaving spring with a rain deficit! My garden tips for June are going to be about watering. There is a difference in watering needs for lawns, gardens, vegetables, flowers, and shrubs.
1. Lawn watering is best done between 6 am and 2 pm as this gives the lawn a chance to dry before nightfall; watering at night can lead to both fungus diseases and insect problems. Water thoroughly, about one inch every 7 to 10 days. Depending on your water pressure you would need to water for 45 minutes to an hour or longer to get an inch of water on the turf. You can use a small rain gauge or even a prescription bottle in the sprinkler pattern to measure how much water you are actually putting down. One slow deep soaking is much better than a lot of little watering. Deep watering will also take the roots deeper into the ground so that they can withstand hot days and nights.
2. Vegetable and flower gardens also need to be watered in the early morning to early afternoon. You will want to water the ground around your plantings as much as possible to keep flowers from being damaged by the water and sunlight. Soaker hoses are the safest, but sprinklers can be used early before the sun rises too high in the sky. Don’t panic on really hot days if your plants look wilted when you get home! Wait until morning, and if the plants are still wilted, go ahead and water. If they are back looking fine it was heat and not moisture as the cause.
3. Trees and shrubs are different still, and like lawns they need a deep soaking every 7 to 10 days. For most large trees that are in your lawn, if you are watering the turf, the trees will have all that they need. Newly planted trees and shrubs need some extra attention but not necessarily more water. Newly planted trees and shrubs will react to sunshine and hot windy days by wilting in order to reduce their leaf exposure and reduce moisture loss though evaporation. Again, watch the plant in the morning and if it is still wilted and the ground feels dry give it a good, deep soaking. Plants can show some of the same symptoms being too wet or too dry so if you see a plant that is wilting don’t assume that it is dry it may just be too hot.
4. Rain gauges are a useful garden tool to have in your yard or garden, because it doesn’t always rain at home like it does at the National Weather Service! With a rain gauge you will know how much rain your yard receives, so place it out in the open in order to get a true measure. Checking your rain gauge will let you know if the rain you had actually watered something or just wet the surface. And empty it after each rain!