Regardless of what the TV weather folks say, we're in a drought, just like '91, '92 and '97. After 3 weeks with no appreciable increase in ground moisture and relentless heat, all living things are becoming stressed. Many, stressed from last year's heat and lack of water, and a too-mild winter, are dying.
We'll be seeing the adverse effects of drought for the next 2-3 years.
All that death and waste can be averted by following a few simple steps of returning moisture to where it's needed: the plant's root system.
Sure, we've gotten some hard rains and intermittent showers, but 95% of that water runs off into streams or soaks into the lawns. Virtually none gets to a plant's root system.
In addition to anchoring the plant into the ground, the root system is a very efficient system for the uptake of water and nutrients to branches and leaves. But it has to have water to get it up where it will do the plant some real good.
Rule of thumb: each plant needs one inch of water per week to sustain life. Even well established trees and shrubs must have water in a drought situation.
First, forget watering lawns; they're water hogs and can easily survive drought by going dormant and turning brown. At the first rain, they'll green-up again. Don't waste water on lawns.
Instead, lay a garden hose at the base of a plant, turn it on to a running trickle the diameter of a pencil for 30 minutes. That's approximately 30-35 gallons. Double that if there's no rain for another 1-2 weeks.
If you've just planted new trees and shrubs, or had a professional landscape contractor install them for you, remember that you'll need to continue watering for 1-2 years, especially during these drought conditions. Until each plant's root system can take up enough moisture and nutrients, you must provide what they need. Failure to provide adequate moisture to your new plant material will result in their untimely demise, and the voiding of any warranty on the plants.
Soaker hoses are an efficient way of delivering water to a wide area of plant material. Consider setting a system up of several connected to an electronic timer, so that garden watering can be done during off-peak water usage times.
Also, recycling old gallon milk jugs can help you water perennials and smaller shrubs in a slow, very efficient manner. Simply sit the jug near the plant, remove the top and punch 3 small holes into the bottom; it will ooze for hours and water the plant's root system thoroughly. Fertilizer can easily be incorporated into the water to provide nutrients.
Overhead and oscillating sprinklers waste 70% of the water through evaporation, so forgo them for a drip irrigation system. They're easy to design and set up.
In addition to featuring the most unusual, rare and hard-to-find plant material found anywhere, we routinely feature over 200 varieties of annuals and herbs, over 935 varieties of perennials, ornamental grasses and bamboos, and more than 600 cultivars of nursery stock, ranging from the common to the very rare, unusual and hard-to-find.
Our Collector's Rare Plant Nursery has been supplying gardening enthusiasts for over five years, and is a must for Connoisseurs and Serious Collectors.
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