With Heat, Water and Mulch your Plants

This summer is shaping up to be a scorcher in southern Ontario. With this heat and little rainfall, the least we can do for our plants (even our drought-tolerant ones) is to water them.

But before rushing off to water, give some thought to the costs involved to water resources and to your bank balance.

The heat wave this week has everything, including plants, wilting. Gardeners can duck indoors to have a drink and get out of the scorching sun, but plants remain outside sizzling and wilting. By following a few guidelines you can keep your plants well watered and growing well, and keep your costs down. Plus it’s a step towards conserving our water resources and improving our soil.

 

  • Water plants first thing in the morning while it still cool.
    You lose less water to evaporation; the plants have water for the rest of the day, and water on leaves dry out (reducing the chance for developing disease).

 

  • Don’t use sprinkler if it’s windy.
    Very little water soaks into the soil.

 

  • Water plants deeply, at least 2 ½ cm (1 inch).
    Sprinkling water encourages shallow roots, and you will use more water in the long run.

 

  • Mulch.
    Use at least 5 cm (2 inches) of mulch. With mulching you cut your water use by half, and you don’t have to water as often.

 

Word of warning: don’t use more than 7.5 cm (3 inches). Deep mulch encourages roots to grow into the mulch. If the mulch clumps, it may prevent water and air reaching the plant’s roots.


Written by Cristina da Silva
Sunday, May 30, 2010 in Plants & Soils

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