To Water Plantings ... or Not?
A healthy lawn can withstand summer’s heat and dryness. The plants in your landscaping beds might not.
It’s smart to keep a close eye on them. Observation can be the difference between plants surviving the summer, and having to buy replacements next year.
Unlike grass, plants don’t go dormant during extended dry periods. They survive or die. When summer heats up, the outcome often depends on whether they get a little help from their friends (to borrow a famous music line). This means you, and a ready source of water.
Some distressed plants exhibit obvious signs. If leaves are curled up, color is disappearing, or a plant just looks lifeless, water it right away.
Being proactive is the best bet. During times of extended heat, perennials, shrubs and trees should get at least an inch of water per week in Brookfield, New Berlin and Elm Grove, WI.
The most effective means to water planting beds is with a soaking hose, or a sprinkler whose spray can be controlled and directed. A gentle application avoids soil erosion. The goal is to saturate the entire planting area.
Once or twice a week is all that’s needed. Allow soil to dry out before the next watering, too. Perennials strengthen their roots by searching for moisture.
Avoid watering when it’s too hot. Believe it or not, the moisture actually absorbs heat and warms the soil, which harms plants’ roots.
Just as with a lawn, the best time to water plants is in the morning. Evaporation is minimized. If you water late in the day or at night, the combination of dampness and darkness can cause disease and root rot.
Plants in sunny areas need more water. Those in shady spots need less. Young plants require more water than their better-established cousins. If you keep plants in baskets or pots, water at least every other day.
Another way to give plants a leg up is to add more mulch, which retains soil moisture. Be careful about the type of mulch used!
Your landscape plants aren’t able to tell you when they’re thirsty. You have to observe their conditions, and take action as needed. Call it their “body language” … and also smart, proactive landscaping.
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