Watering your garden and landscape plants under drought conditions.
Welcome to our first blog post. We welcome your calls requesting information on landscape design, installation and maintenance. We will try to answer many of the common questions in the post below.
Because of climate change, rain in the Midwest is expected become more intense, leading to increased flood damage and strained drainage. Climate change also causes an increase in summer drought frequency and evaporation in water levels because of increased temperatures. Natural ecosystems in the Midwest are being altered by the combined effects of climate change, land-use change, and an influx of invasive species. The National Weather Service describes a drought as a deficiency in precipitation over an extended period, usually a season or more, which results in a water shortage. In Missouri we often see temporary a drought in the summer months and increased summer temperatures, which requires additional water for your garden, trees and shrubs.
How much water do plants need?
The general rule of thumb is about an inch or two of water each week with deep, infrequent watering as opposed to the more frequent shallow watering. is concept depends on a number of factors:
1. What can help keep the moisture in and around plants and trees?
Sandy soil holds less water than clay soil so it will dry out faster. Amending the soil with compost will increase the soil’s health and allow for better water retention.
Mulch Mulch Mulch – Mulching helps to keep the soil moist. We recommend 3-4 inches of mulch to protect your plants and help retain moisture.
2. Does hot weather require more water?
If it’s hot and dry you will need to water more often. In rainy weather – little or no watering is necessary. Vegetables, bedding plants and many perennials that have shallow root systems may require more frequent watering, especially in temperatures over 85 degrees.
Container plants – need watering every day in hot dry conditions, in temperatures over 85 degrees, watering may be needed twice or even three times per day.
3. What time of day should plants be watered?
The best time for watering is the morning hours, when water is not as likely to evaporate. Late afternoon is okay as long as you avoid watering the foliage, as wet foliage can lead to fungal issues. Evening or after dark is fine as well. I had a neighbor once that watered her plants at midnight. Once I asked her why she watered late at night, and she said she felt that was best for her plants. Truth be told, her plants looked fabulously healthy. Our family called her “Glenda the Good Witch” as she could be seen watering her plants all summer under the full, half, or quarter moon!