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Our Summer Watering Tips

It's that time of year again, when summer sun beats down relentlessly, scorching plants, lawns, and trees, and when water becomes the essential ingredient in your garden. You water, of course, but is it enough?

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It's that time of year again, when summer sun beats down relentlessly, scorching plants, lawns, and trees, and when water becomes the essential ingredient in your garden. You water, of course, but is it enough? Is it at the right times? Why is it so hard to keep everything from drying out?

We often say that if you are thirsty, then so is your garden. And depending on whether your trees are well established or new to your landscape, they may need more or less water, but water all the same. We get so many enquiries about trees that are under-performing or just frazzled, and the reason is often due to lack of water.

Being mindful of water as a precious resource, watering efficiently and precisely is important. Here are some tips to guide your watering routine:

  • Water in the cool of the morning if you can, as the ground is coolest and foliage has time to dry before being warmed by the sun.
  • A steady stream of water directed to the base of the tree is preferred to watering overhead. Water evaporation occurs when applying water this way and the wider the nozzle on your hose the higher the evaporation. The potential of foliage becoming diseased is heightened by watering foliage.
  • Water deeply and at fewer intervals so that you reach the roots of the tree. Light applications of water more frequently will encourage trees with shallow root systems which is not ideal particularly in areas where trees are subject to wind exposure. 
  • If you use an irrigation system, keep it close to the ground.
  • Water trees and plants in containers regularly, typically once a day during hot, dry spells. They heat up and dry out much faster than garden beds. Use your finger to test for moisture down 5cm-10cm – If it's wet, don’t water; if it's dry get on to it! Using your finger is a simple but effective measure for checking moisture! 
  • If it has been raining, there is probably no need to water, but by using your finger to test for moisture in the soil, you will be able to judge when watering should resume.
  • Don't forget about trees planted in the middle of lawns. We suggest laying a hose at the base of the tree on low pressure, even at a trickle. Again, the key here is deep watering, rather than frequent bursts. As an aside, when freshly planted, lawns compete for water with trees. Make sure to give the base of the tree some space especially if you apply lawn fertiliser as this may impact the tree.
  • Mulching is your best friend. For both new and existing trees, we suggest you maintain a minimum 50mm layer of good quality, organic mulch that will break down and add to your soil.  It will also work to suppress weeds.
  • The use of a wetting agent, such as that found in our Complete Tree Starter is recommended both before planting and after. These granules assist the soil's ability to soak up water. 

For more advice on planting well including coping with heat stress over summer, please go here.

 

02/02/2021 Planting & Tree Care

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