July’s hot summer weather can be brutal. When the thermometer inches up, pay attention to your garden plants with proper watering. There’s a method to the madness of July watering that doesn’t involve drenching plants and soil. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says as much as 50 percent of the water you apply is not absorbed by plants because it is added too quickly or is more than the plants need.
Here are tips on how and how not to keep your plants from going thirsty and dry.
- Plants can take in water better if you water at night when evaporation rates are low, says Utah State University Extension.
- When you’re planting a container or pot without holes, make sure to fill some of the bottom with coarse material for drainage.
- Water shallow-rooted or starter plants that rely on water in the top layer of soil.
- Do what you can to keep water in the ground. An organic mulch such as wheat straw or ground bark spread around and underneath plants acts as a barrier between the soil and sun.
- Because it is difficult to recover moisture in soil and plants, don’t wait until drought sets in to begin watering, says Wyevale Garden Centres. A shower is no reason to stop watering either because much of the rainfall will evaporate without reaching the roots.
- Watering too frequently encourages surface roots, making the plant susceptible to drought.
- Avoid watering with a sprinkler. Instead, apply water directly to the soil around plants. That way, less water is lost to evaporation, especially on hot days. But if you must use a sprinkler, water early in the morning so foliage will dry quickly to prevent onset of disease. Because many diseases need moisture to thrive, put the sprinkler on a timer to come on just before daybreak to keep leaves from staying wet too long.
Remember, your plants need watering. Pay attention to them and they will reward you with a wonderful world of green!