Since we stayed cool so long in early Spring, most of us weren’t thinking about watering. But now that we’re in a long period of no rain, high winds, and warmer temps, good watering is critical. Here are our tips to make sure your lawn and plants are properly hydrated.
Depth Moisture: Water Longer and Deeper, Not Just More Frequently
Watering frequently seems like a logical thing to do, but lawns and plants benefit more from deeper drinks, less often. The goal should be to create depth moisture, so plant roots grow deeper in search of water. If you water frequently but not deeply, plant roots will stay shallow where the water is, which makes them less resistant to dry conditions, less resistant to pests and disease, and generally punier!
For lawns in clay soil areas (most of the Coastal Bend) right now, water deeply once a week. Try the tuna can trick: place an empty tuna or cat food can in your lawn, then water the area until the can is full. For clay soil, keep in mind that water runs off faster than it can soak in, so we need to use the TAMU Cycle and Soak Method. For sandy soil (Flour Bluff, Rockport, Padre Island, Port Aransas) you should water more frequently with less volume.
For landscape plants, water deeply at ground level to get water down into the root ball. Don’t shower from above. To prevent runoff, give each plant a short burst, then revisit each plant several times. Also keep in mind that too much water will rot the roots and not allow the plant to take up water and nutrients. Too much water/not enough water will result in very similar symptoms. Best to use a moisture meter – more on that below!
Water in the Morning
If you were running a race, would you rather have a good drink of water at the beginning of the race or no water until the end? Same goes for lawns and plants – they benefit from watering in the morning so they can sustain themselves through the heat of the day.
Moisture Meter – a Gardener’s Best Friend!
Take out the guess work and use a moisture meter. We promise it’s not cheating! Take it around with you when you’re watering, poke it into the root ball of each plant, get an accurate moisture reading, and water accordingly. So easy to use and SO helpful. Can’t go wrong for about $10.
Try Moisture Retention Technology?
We are planning to experiment with a biodegradable product called Hydretain which uses “a liquid group of hygroscopic and humectant components that attracts moisture. In other words, by acting like tiny “water magnets,” they form microscopic droplets within the root zone. As a result, this process allows plants to utilize soil moisture which would otherwise be lost to evaporation.” If we can stand behind the results, we will likely carry it here at Gill’s.