Water now to protect plants during drought and through the winter. Responsible watering practices will go far to help plants survive the lack of rainfall and help them get through winter. Sub-soil moisture is still seriously depleted in our part of the world. Here are a few ideas to help conserve water and protect your investment in garden plants.
- Water slowly, deeply and regularly. It is very important to get water as far down into the root system as possible. Adjust your hose to trickle slowly and let it run for a couple of hours once or twice each week. Be sure to apply water slowly enough that it soaks into the earth between the trunk and the drip line rather than running away from the base of the plant. Continue this right up until the ground is so frozen water will no longer soak into the earth, probably sometime in November. This may mean dragging a hose in and out for several more weeks. As an alternative, try setting a leaky bucket near the tree or shrub and refilling it a couple of times on watering day.
- Evergreens are especially vulnerable to fall drought. Unlike trees and shrubs that drop their leaves in fall, evergreens don’t go truly dormant but continue to ‘breathe’ or ‘transpire’ all winter. Once the ground is solidly frozen of course, they cannot take up any more water. If they do not have enough water stored in their needles, stems and roots by freeze-up, cold dry winter air will cause evergreen trees and shrubs to lose so much of the stored moisture that they may be seriously damaged or may not survive the winter.
- Do not fertilize this late in the season. Feeding your plants now can cause them to put on some new, soft growth, especially if the soil does not freeze for several more weeks. This ‘soft’ growth is vulnerable to winter die-back and may seriously weaken the plant for next season.
- The best time to water is in the morning. The water has the best chance of soaking into the ground during the warmth of the day. If this is not possible, make sure to water as early in the evening as possible.
- Be sure to water established, mature trees and shrubs as well as those installed this year. Rain has been infrequent during the past couple of months to say the least. Even well- established trees can die if they do not receive enough water. All it takes to keep them alive is one deep watering each week. Remember your boulevard trees as well.
Be sure and stop in to Linder's and pick up any items for your watering needs.
Posted on September 12, 2012