We have had unusually mild weather for 6 weeks longer than normal. This has created lots of tender growth on all our plants and has been wonderful! The tender growth, however, is just that…tender. This tender foliage will easily burn if the plants don’t get enough water. The first heat spell is usually the time when inadequate or poor watering practices result in stressed and/or poorly looking plants. So I want to share some tips for proper watering practices for plants in the ground.
1. Water deeply
Always water slow and long. Established lawns should need water, at the most, every other day and for 20-30 minutes or so. If you need to water more often, you are not watering deep enough.
Lawn roots can reach as deep as 10′ into the soil for water, but if you are encouraging shallow roots by shallow waterings, you will have a lawn that can not withstand extreme temperatures and drought. If you find that running your sprinklers for that time creates excessive runoff, then you can split the time by no more than 1 hour the same day or replace with sprinklers that put out less water at a time. Why? Every soil is different.
Some soils, like sand and sandy loam, drain quickly, so they can take in a lot of water at one time, while clay soils drain slowly so they take in water slower. Make sense?
2. Water in the morning
To reduce unneeded water loss from evaporation, water during the cooler times of the day and best in the morning anytime from 4 am-12 pm. Avoid watering late in the evening or at night because plants do not use water at night, and the excessive water on the leaves and in the soil can cause lots of diseases like root rot, lawn fungi, powdery mildew, and more.
3. Water trees!
Take the time to water your shade trees. There is a common misconception that trees get enough water from lawn sprinklers, shrub sprinklers, or rain. This is not true. For lush, healthy trees that can withstand drought longer and better (keeping you and your house cooler!) take the time to water them.
We recommend using a hose or a soaker hose on a slow trickle at the base of the tree for several hours or up to 24 hours, depending on the age and type of tree. This only needs to be repeated every 10 days to 2 weeks or more again, depending on the type of tree. This also goes for established fruit trees, including citrus! Not sure how long your tree needs? Drop by The Greenery and ask us!
4. Use separate irrigation lines
A proper irrigation system in a typical yard will have one line and timer setting for lawns, a different one for annuals, perennials, and shrubs, and yet another one for trees. You may also have different zones due to sun exposure and soil type.
We hope this helps your yard whether this first heat spell as well as the rest of the summer.