The heat of the summer is beginning to bear upon us in Birmingham, Alabama, and our plants are going to feel it as much as we will. From a thirty year old oak tree to a window planter filled with annuals, water is necessary for their survival. This may seem like an elementary principle when it comes to plants, but we have a few tips and suggestions that can prevent common mistakes people make when watering their 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 to get energized before they have to endure the higher temperatures in the afternoon. If necessary, watering in the late afternoon is possible 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 there is water and nutrients. If a plant gets small amounts of water frequently, the roots will stay where water is, at the surface, therefore 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 and deep.
Finger Test: If you are not quite sure if it is time to water, stick your index 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.
Mulch: 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. Be careful! Always feel free to contact us at our office or through our website for any questions.