Importance of directed water
PUBLISHED: 13:03 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 14:44 12 May 2010
WATER is essential for plant growth and development and the lack of rain through the winter and the very dry weather since then has left gardeners with problems. The questions are when to start watering plants, how much to give and how often, always beari
WATER is essential for plant growth and development and the lack of rain through the winter and the very dry weather since then has left gardeners with problems.
The questions are when to start watering plants, how much to give and how often, always bearing in mind that water is a precious resource and we are coping with hosepipe restrictions in the area.
First of all never water while the sun is out, wait until the evening just before darkness when the air is cooler and evaporation at its lowest.
Once you decide to water you will need to soak the ground around the plants otherwise you will encourage the roots to come up to the surface and this leads to poor growth.
You will also need to water every night unless rain comes.
Some people have a sprinkler system installed, but to my mind this can be wasteful since a proportion of the water inevitably goes on areas which do not need it.
I prefer to direct it to the base of plants for maximum effect.
Once you have started watering it is a good idea to spread a mulch of compost or similar material over the damp soil since this will help to prevent evaporation.
Remember that trees planted last winter will not have established a deep root system as yet and they will need water just as much as other plants starved of rain.
It is also a good idea to set up barrels and tanks near sheds, greenhouses and other outbuildings to catch the rain from the gutters since this can be used for watering plants in greenhouses, containers and particularly lime hating subjects such as camellias, which tap water will damage.
Finally, set the mower blades higher and leave grass longer since this will prevent lawns from turning brown from lack of rain and help to trap the moisture from the nightly dew.
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