August: Watering

August is hot, and usually dry. Follow these tips to keep your plants healthy during the dog days of summer.

Summer is hot. August is really hot, and usually dry. Remember to water your plants during the worst part of the summer in order to keep your plants happy and healthy.

People think plants like a little bit of water every day, and that's not really true. Established plants and established lawns like to get soaked, but have an opportunity to dry out. Instead of watering daily for brief periods of time, water no more than twice per week, but greatly extend the amount of time you are standing there with a hose, or the length of time your drip irrigation system is on.

Another common error is that people will put sprinkler systems over their plant beds. While sprinklers are fine for watering the lawn, and small annuals, the water only reaches an inch or two into the ground unless the sprinkler is on for hours. Take a hose and stand next to the plant and point the water at the ground next to the plant. Water is absorbed by the roots, not the foliage. Soak the ground until the water is no longer soaking into it, then move onto the next plant. This is the best way to water shrubs, perennails and anything in a pot.

When we move on to watering trees, the amount of time we would have to stand there would get annoying, and most of the water would simply come out so quickly that it wouldn't get down to the roots. For large trees, take several empty juice/milk containers, wash them thoroughly, and fill them with water. Take them over near the tree, place them up against the base of the trunk, and prick a tiny little hole in the plastic container so that the water slowly drips out. Now feel free to wander off instead of standing next to the tree for an extended period of time.