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Garden watering, tips on how to sprinkle your water wisely.


 
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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
Posts: 2142
Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 3:12 pm    Post subject: Garden watering, tips on how to sprinkle your water wisely. Reply with quote

Garden watering, tips on how to sprinkle your water wisely.
The drought situation described in this article is meteorological drought, this is a situation where there is an extended period with less than average precipitation (rain).

During the latest prolonged spell of dry weather, many of my garden occupants began to sag, flag and wilt under the baking heat of an unclouded sun. I'm sure many of your plants were in the same situation, which leads me to the question.... which plants should be irrigated first and which plants should receive the largest volume of water?
Timing is everything in a drought situation, so much so that you begin to feel like the leader of a third world country trying to spread your meagre budget across healthcare, military and education. Never fear, let me dampen your worries with some helpful water rationing advice. Firstly, as a rule of thumb, if the soil 5cm (2 inches) below the grounds surface is dry, then it is definitely time to begin watering.


Large watering can garden feature, photo / pic / image.

Last in, first watered.
Your most recent plantings should be top of the list for regular summer watering. These newest plantings often comprise bare-root trees or shrubs, which were planted the previous autumn or winter, or possibly newly planted perennials which are also at great risk from drought damage. You see all these new plantings have not had much time to produce water-seeking roots, the type of roots that travel deep and wide for moisture.
If your district water supply should come under a hosepipe ban this summer, then recent plantings of annual summer bedding such as marigolds, impatiens, Nicotiana etc should be regarded as probable casualties of the water war. I know personally, If I had a limited supply of water to divide between a Japanese maple and some annual bedding, I am afraid the maple would receive the lions share and to hell with the bedding.

Container plants during a drought.
Next on the water-receiving list are your containerised plants, hanging baskets and window boxes. Essentially a containerised plant is growing above the ground water table, with just the soil inside the container to provide the required moisture. If the moisture is not inside the container, then I am afraid the roots have nowhere else to go to quench the plants thirst.
Again, if the compost 5cm (2 inches) below the pots surface is dry, then it is time to water; it is up to you the gardener to provide that water when required. Try to provide a catch plate or tray beneath containers; these "catchers" will contain any excess water that will eventually be absorbed in the compost. Be aware that terracotta and other porous container materials absorb a good quantity of water into the container structure itself, that the plant is then unable to access, so water these heavily.

Still to come..... more dry chat about watering.

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