Water, Water, Water……Plenty and Often!

We’ve had a hot and fairly dry spring season and now the North Texas summer is here, so it’s important to open up the water spigot. With temperatures in the nineties and not a lot of rainfall, your plants, especially newly planted ones, must have additional watering to keep them healthy. Don’t be fooled by a light summer sprinkle; your plants may well still need a periodic deep soaking.

Here are some important things to keep in mind  so you can protect your green investments:

  1. Sprinklers don’t adequately water newly planted trees and shrubs. A normal sprinkler waters the soil only 3-4 inches deep unless you leave the water on for a long time. This helps, but it isn’t enough to water just the top few inches of a newly planted root ball, so make sure you’re still giving an occasional slow hand-soaking with a water hose.
  2. Container potting soil shrinks when dry. If one of your containers is very dry when you start to water, soak the pot, move on and do some more watering, then come back to further soak the pot. The peat-based potting soils that most of us use will shrink when dry, and if you don’t first plump up the soil with an initial watering then finish off with a later soaking, you’re going to have your water run down the sides of your container instead of soaking through the root area.
  3. Finish off every planting bed with a 2″ layer of mulch, and also put a shallow layer of mulch on the tops of your containers.  This will help soil to retain moisture a little longer plus it looks good!
  4. Water in the morning. If you can’t water early, water when you can; but plants prefer a good drink to start the day, not a dunking to make up for being very dry all afternoon.