What a summer we have had in the Pacific Northwest! From record heat to minimal rain to smoky skies that kept us indoors we have all been challenged to keep our gardens alive and thriving. Our rainfall measure since April ended (and that was a rainy month!) stands at 0.88 inches total. An average summer would see us receiving 5.09 inches of rain!! That kind of drought is hard on plants – and especially on those that we assume don’t need watering like our large trees and established shrubs. According to information from the Saving Water Partnership watering mature trees once or twice a month is good practice. If you have not supplemented water for the larger plants in your gardens now might be a good time to think about doing it. Try setting a sprinkler out to cover the root zone beneath your large trees and adjust the water so it is spraying low to the ground to avoid too much loss from evaporation. Let the water run for about five minutes then shut it off and move it to the next needy plant. Once you get through that round set the sprinkler back up under the first plant and let it run for another fifteen minutes. The first short round of watering will help to moisten the soil and allow for the water to absorb – dry soil can sometimes become hydrophobic at the surface and a heavy watering without prepping the soil first could result in the water simply running off the intended watering site. Check the soil when you are done to ensure that water has penetrated at least six inches into the soil. If not add a little more time to the watering cycle. Sometimes the drought stress and damage plants experience does not show up until the next growing season. Try and prevent that now by giving your garden a deep soaking. Learn more from the Saving Water Partnership and this great article from In Harmony.
photo credit to In Harmony and Vicky van Santen