During Hot Dry Spells, YES! Water Your Plants
It is important to water new plantings well their first year, particularly during long, dry hot spells. A long, deep soaking every few days will greatly help the survival of your plants. All newly established plants require water. To tell if the area needs water or not, wiggle your finger in to the soil a couple inches deep. If it is cool and moist, there is enough water for now. If it is dry, hard, sandy, crumbly, add water.
With the heat we have been having, even trees and shrubs planted last year will benefit from a good soaking until it rains.
When you do apply water, apply it slowly so it doesn’t run off. Make sure you have a thin layer of mulch over the root zones. This will help retain the moisture.
Here are a couple different ways you can water:
- Cover the bare sale with a thin layer of mulch. Carefully and gently water the surface with a hose set on the sprinkle setting. The water should seep into the dry mulch and soil, not run over the ground. Slow deep watering of the soil is what is needed. No need to spray the foliage of the plants. Imagine the water seeping deep into the soil and the roots going DOWN to get to the water.
- For trees, fill a five gallon bucket of water with a few holes or a crack in the bottom, and place it at the base of the tree. The water will slowly seep out and moisten the soil. Do this every few days until it rains.
- Place a hose on a very slow drip for a few hours at the base of a tree. Do this every few days until it rains.
- For a newly planted perennial garden, wind soaker hose around the plantings and run it every few days.
- If you are in a hard setting, such as in the woods or far from the house, a five gallon bucket of very wet mulch applied to the base of the plant will be helpful.
Here are additional tips, thank you to Facebook Post from the Native Plant Trust in Massachusetts:
- Let the lawn go. Turf grass may turn brown and crispy, but chances are its roots will survive underground.
- Spend your water budget on trees and shrubs, which are costlier to replace.
- Stop fertilizer. It fuels new growth, which needs more water and enlarges the plant, which then needs even more water. Without regular rainfall to wash it out, chemical fertilizer can build up to toxic levels.
- Postpone pruning woody plants. Like feeding them, pruning stimulates new growth.
If you have any questions, please let us know.