Watering the Summer Garden
Watering in the summer months can be time-consuming and expensive. We have a few tips to help you manage this crucial garden chore.
Mulch – Key to conserving water—mulch reduces water loss and keeps the soil cool while suppressing weed germination. Choose mulch that is also a soil conditioner, such as pine fine amendments that help to conserve water while enriching the soil. Loosen compacted mulch to improve water penetration to the soil and air circulation.
Watering – Soaker hoses direct water to the plants’ roots, not into the air where much can be lost to evaporation. Use sprinkler timers to water the garden during the cooler hours of the day when less water is lost to evaporation.
More likely than not, all the plants in a garden do not have the same water requirements. Selectively watering plants is preferable to watering an entire garden—conserving water and saving money.
Ground Covers – Ground covers protect the soil from the hot sun and keep the soil moist and reduce weed germination.
Container gardens are more susceptible to summer heat due to their size, color and exposure to the elements.
Size – The size of the container has the greatest impact on watering requirements. The smaller the container, the less soil is available for water retention.
Color – The darker the pot, the hotter the soil will become, potentially damaging roots.
Frequency – Water container plants in the cooler hours of the day, such as the early morning and evening.
Deep Watering – Water pots slowly and deeply, until water runs from the bottom. Shallow watering allows the soil to dry out, promotes shallow root growth and stresses the plant, making it susceptible to pests and diseases. Deep watering helps plants establish stronger roots.
Soil Contraction – Dry soil contracts and pulls away from the side of the container. When this happens, water passes between the soil and the container and does not penetrate to the plants’ roots. Slow watering allows the water to absorb into the soil, expands the soil and penetrates to the roots of the plants.
Watering Wands – A watering wand is a gardener’s best friend. Wands make it easy to reach hanging baskets and containers placed in hard-to-reach places.