Monday, June 20, 2011
We are on the verge of those sweltering Missouri Summer Days. We have already had some record temperatures, and have already seen drought stress in trees, turf, and our gardens due to the heat.
Water is an important resource to us, so we must use it wisely. If you have a perennial garden that you are watering two times a day, you may have planted the wrong perennials. Lucky for us, there are lots of little tricks that can help us use water more efficiently.
Mulch is your friend. Whether it be home made or store bought, environmentally friendly mulch can help your soil withhold moisture. Although, there are many numerous plants that do not grow well in mulch. In fact, some plants will die as a result of mulch. So mulch should be a last resort for most herbaceous perennials, and save mulch for trees and shrubs.
Another Important factor is knowing when to water. Watering early in the morning is great. It gives the water time to soak in the soil before the sun evaporates a majority of the water you applied. Watering when the sun is out can be very harmful to your yard and garden, as the water droplets act like little magnifying glasses, and will actually burn your plants and your yard! I water my plants about an hour before sunset. This allows enough daylight to evaporate any moisture on the leaves so it doesn't aid in disease throughout the cool hours of the night, but gives the moisture in the soil time to soak in deep, keeping my garden moist all day when I am at work. Before all you gardeners and professionals send me any hate mail, keep in mind I understand I am going against common watering practices. With our busy lives and hectic morning schedules, watering in the evening sometimes is our only option, but we can do it and still use good management practices.
I know watering has yet to be an issue this year, due to the rain pattern we are in, but July and August are just around the corner! Perhaps the best thing we can do is install plants and trees that our drought resistant, and better yet, Natives that have had thousands of years more than us dealing with this Missouri Weather, and have gotten quite good at it! Happy Gardening!
Posted by Dan Porter at 12:40 PM