Watering Tips

By DENISE GRANT, MG  The Times Observer
7/9/12  – July is often a warm month and this summer is no exception. With our mild winter and lack of rain, many areas are experiencing drought conditions, making it even more important to practice good watering habits. Here are a few watering tips.

Applying a layer of mulch to your gardens will hold in moisture. It will also help control weeds.

Apply water in the cool of the morning or evening when the wind is calm, the sun is less hot, and water loss through evaporation is minimal. If watering the evening, try to leave enough time for plant leaves to dry; this will help prevent slugs.

Avoid watering disease-susceptible plants at night. If water sits on plant foliage for hours, it can encourage fungal diseases to attack leaves, buds, flowers, and fruit. Plants susceptible to leaf spots, fruit rots, and flower blights are best watered in the morning, when the warming sun will quickly dry off the leaves and discourage fungus development.

Provide an inch of water a week for many plants and lawn grasses. The idea is to keep the soil lightly moist and to prevent it from drying out completely, which would be damaging to most plants. But because plants don’t always follow the rules, there are exceptions to this general guideline:

Hot weather, dry sandy soil, or crowded intensive plantings or containers my require more than an inch of water a week.

When the weather is cool, the plants are widely spaced, or the soil is heavy and moisture-retentive, less water may be required.

Young or new plantings require more moisture at the soil surface to help their budding roots get started. Water lightly and more frequently to accommodate their needs.

Mature plantings with large root systems can be watered heavily and less often than younger plants. The moisture soaks deep into the soil and encourages the roots to thrive.

Consider adding a rain barrel to your garden area for easier watering and better use of the water nature provides.

Remember, proper watering will help conserve water and promote healthier plants.

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