The end of the summer and beginning of the fall of 2016 has been very dry for the Birmingham area. Currently, those in the service area of the Birmingham Water Works are under a Stage 2 drought management plan. This means restricted watering for homeowners limited to two days per week, on designated days depending on your address. For detailed information on the watering restrictions please visit the Birmingham Water Works website HERE.
So how can we manage our watering to be the most effective for the landscape? Here are a few basic tips that can prevent common mistakes when watering your landscape.
Time of day
The best time to water your lawn or plants is early morning until 10:00 a.m. This helps your plants become energized before they have to endure the higher temperatures in the afternoon. Watering in the late afternoon is acceptable, if necessary, as long as there is enough time for the foliage to dry before nightfall. Low sunlight and cooler temperatures at night are optimal for diseases and fungi.
Deep and infrequent
The majority of any plant’s roots are in the top 12” of the soil. However, roots grow to where the water and nutrients are. If a plant gets small amounts of water frequently, the roots will stay near the surface, where the water is, thereby creating a shallow root system. Shallow root systems = weak plants. By no means does this mean drown your lawn, flowers, and shrubs, but a slow, long watering a few times a week will do the trick to get deep, strong roots.
If you are not quite sure if it is time to water, stick your finger in to the soil by your plant. If the soil is moist all the way to your first knuckle, wait and check the next day. Dry? Water it.
Plants and turf have different watering needs. If you have an automatic irrigation system, the zones should setup to water turf separately from the shrubs and plants. This allows more effective and efficient watering to meet the requirements of each.
Not only does mulch give a finished look to any bed or planter, it keeps your plants cool. Mulch holds water in the soil and prevents water from running off when it should be soaking in to the ground to feed your roots. 2-3” of shredded mulch is a standard amount that we recommend.
There is no special formula when it comes to watering plants. It is extremely simple, but when done the wrong way, plants suffer. Over watering can be just as harmful as under watering, and the plant produces the same symptoms for both problems. Always feel free to contact us at our office or through our website for any questions.