Everyone I’ve talked to lately says the same thing. “We need some rain.”
Ok. We got some rain Sunday night. About one-half inch, according to my rain gauge. But the ground is still dry and plants still look fried.
What to do?
Pay special attention to trees and shrubs, especially evergreens, as we go into winter. This is critical. Trees and shrubs need about 1 inch of water every week.
If you are like most of us, you wonder how do I know I’ve applied 1 inch of water? Irrigation systems should be calibrated or zoned to apply various amounts of water to lawns, shrubs, trees and garden beds.
For overhead sprinklers, here are tips to measure how much water is hitting the ground:
- Place several empty tuna or cat food cans (or something similar) in the area to be watered.
- Turn on the sprinkler and monitor the cans’ water depth.
- Ideally, the 1 inch of water should be delivered all at one time, or broken into two applications – one-half inch one day and then a few days later, the other one-half inch.
- Water trees throughout their drip zone, rather than at the base.
- Ring the drip zone of a tree or shrub with hose that seeps (soaker hose) or drips water.
- Check out more watering and measuring tips from Cornell Extension.
I’ve hand-watered shrubs, such as hydrangea, summer sweet, weigela, viburnum and others. One inch of water is roughly 5 gallons. You can water by dumping the 5 gallons all at once around the shrub. Or time how long it takes the hose to fill a 5-gallon bucket and water the shrub for that amount of time.
What about our wet spring?
Yes, we did have a wet spring. That caused all plants, including trees and shrubs to grow lush green growth, maybe more than normal. Now it’s been hot and dry and plants need a bit more TLC to support the growth.
Despite the wet spring, watering this time of year will help trees and shrubs, including evergreens, to make it through winter without damage.