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Hot Weather Watering

Hot, dry weather can sneak up on us, especially after a wet spring. As summer progresses, you might feel overwhelmed with the job of keeping up with your watering while maintaining a lower water bill. Here are some helpful tips for keeping your garden healthy and conserving water at the same time.

Timing matters...

  • Early morning is the best time of day to water your garden. Temperatures are cooler but the sun is up so your flowers and foliage have time to dry before the sun scorches. Your plant will look best if your watering is done as close to the soil as possible.
  • During the middle of the day the high temperatures cause evaporation. It would be a shame to lose water before it even reaches the soil!
  • Evenings are a possibility, but you will need to be extra careful about fungus, bugs, and disease. You will have less powdery mildew, rust, and black spot if your leaves are dry by the time the sun goes down. Watering in the morning is the best way to discourage fungi and plant pathogens. Slugs and snails also love high humidity and will proliferate in damp overnight conditions.

Deep is best...

  • Watering slowly and deeply is best for your garden. This encourages roots to grow deeper. Deep roots hold water better and longer. Watering too often and too shallowly encourages roots to stay around the surface layer of soil.
  • Read the forecast. Consider watering your plants a bit deeper the day before a spike in temperature.

Keep water in the ground...

  • Wind causes evaporation to happen faster and so soil dries out easier. Mulch can help keep soil wet. Make sure your soil is at least damp before putting on the mulch so that water is kept in rather than repelled.

Watch your plants...

  • Sometimes plants will droop during the day, but it can be heat-related rather than water-related. Watching your garden closely through the spring and early summer gives you a good idea of which is an indicator plant (the first to droop when soil is dry) and which plants droop in the heat of the day but perk back up the next morning. If a plant perks up overnight, then it has enough water. If it’s still wilted the next day then it’s either too dry or possibly too wet. Check the soil with your finger to investigate the situation. If it feels wet, then you’ll want to dial back the watering until the plant recovers.

Consider a soaker hose...

  • Installing a drip or other irrigation system will help you save water. With sprinklers/overhead watering, evaporation is a problem once again. If you have a soaker hose on a timer, it’s best if it runs slowly to avoid runoff and to give the water a chance to soak into the soil.
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