EXTREME HEAT MEANS MORE NEED FOR WATER

This last few weeks has been feeling very much like the summer of 2011.  The recent “flash drought” and very high, hot temperatures has put intense stress on most farm crops and our trees, shrubs and gardens.  Be respectful of your local water supplies and follow any mandated watering times but please walk your yard and property and do at least enough watering to keep your trees, shrubs, perennials and other long term or special plants alive.  It is best to soak your plants when you do water to support the deeper plant roots and to reduce surface evaporation.  You can apply a liquid polymer and wetting agents to make the “water wetter” and cause it to soak further in the ground and to stay longer in the soil.  You can mulch the tops of flower beds and container gardens with any of a number of kinds of bark mulches or hulls to slow down water evaporation, lower soil temperatures and retain water longer in the root zone.  A mulch of 1” to 3” thick over the soil surface will reduce watering requirements by 50 percent or more.  Mulching will also reduce weed germination, and will dramatically reduce your need for weed pulling or herbicides.  Lower weed population also reduces the competition for water so your desired plants can access more of the available water.

 You can almost tell how deep a plants’ roots go into the earth by how green the plant is. Compared to those stressed with leaves turning yellow or brown, wilting and even dropping from the plant.  Shallow roots plants like bermuda grass lawns will turn brown or burn the quickest while deep rooted trees like pecans can hang on the longest with limited stress since they are rooted deepest into the earth.  This drought is serious enough especially following the intense and extended drought of spring and summer 2011 that many shrubs and trees are showing the cumulative stress of these challenges.  Many are literally having their own plant style “heat stroke”.

 You can water by hand with a waterhose, or you can use many styles of water sprinklers.  Nothing beats drip irrigation for its slow, steady, soaking ability that uses less water while actually getting more of the water  to the plant roots.  You can also recycle bath or dishwater to water your plants.

Please join me in praying for rain but in the meantime get out and water the plants you want to save.

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