June 18, 2008
The Summer Watering Issue
Wonderful Working Weather...
I have to say that the last two days have been the prettiest I've seen in some time. Mild temperatures,
low humidity, a slight breeze... so delightful that you can't help but to be outside. And
that my friends is exactly where I have been. Kevin and I have been busy top dressing all of the beds
with a fresh layer of mulch. I forget what a time consuming job that is, especially if you do it my way.
Kevin is a great help but throwing mulch and properly placing mulch are two different things. So when
we work together he gets to throw the mulch and I follow behind him spreading it and putting it where
it actually belongs. He will tell you that where he is throwing it is just fine but if you are a fussy gardener
like me "fine" is just not good enough. I am a tough gardener to please and I am blessed to have
a husband who puts up with my quirkiness. It is not always an easy job.
We are in the midst of a great big mess in the back yard. We have decided to re-lay the
We purchased a fountain from Van Liew's that will be positioned in the middle. I am so excited to
have that gurgling water sound in our backyard.
our go-to landscape company is doing a great job as usual. They have been
working their tails off and thankfully have had good weather.
The project should be nearly completed by Saturday. As always Kevin is documenting the different stages
so that we can share them with you.
Many of us are lucky enough to enjoy the convenience of an automatic irrigation system.
With some simple practices and new technology, existing
irrigation systems can be made more efficient, lowering your
water bill, reducing run-off and eliminating waste.
Waterwise habits will result in a healthier lawn and
landscape, in addition to conserving water.
The Irrigation Association has provided us with water-saving tips to
maintain and update automatic irrigation systems. Read
Fine-Tune Your Irrigation System
To Save Money and See Better Results now.
Veggies Need More...
We've stated in the past that most gardens require one inch
of water per week. As the weather heats up however water
consumption for a vegetable garden will gradually increase up to
two inches of water per week and then taper off again as the
weather cools. Remember that it is imperative for you to water
deeply once or twice a week. Watering a little bit every day is
just not good for the plants.
watering tips for your veggies:
Concentrate your watering in the root zone. Soaker hoses and
drip irrigation systems are great methods.
to the above, try to minimize watering of leaves. This will
help prevent disease.
- Water in
the morning between 6:00 and 9:00 AM. Midday watering wastes
water. Evening watering may lead to plant disease.
- Keep the
garden well weeded to eliminate competition for water.
mulches to aid water retention in the garden soil.
Coping With Containers...
Container plants (those in pots, window boxes, hanging
baskets, etc...) are the first to be affected by lack of water.
Since the container itself is exposed on all sides the sun and
heat cause the limited amount of soil to dry up much quicker than
in a garden. As a general rule you should water containers until
the water drains out the holes in the bottom. During the summer
it is not unusual to do this two or three times a day.
Don't let grass or weeds grow beneath your trees and shrubs.
They compete fiercely for available water and will slow the
growth of trees, especially newly planted ones. Worse yet, the
longer turfgrass grows under trees and shrubs the greater the
reduction of new growth. Left alone a cumulative effect may
decrease tree growth for several years. For instance, if the
growth of a tree is reduced by 20 percent for one year because of
grass competition, the growth automatically is 20 percent less
during the second year's growth. Grass competition alone reduces
tree and shrub growth by as much as 50 percent.
Flowers - Blooming Not Burning...
Another good long-term strategy would include greater use of drought
tolerant flowers. A list of these water efficient marvels
(suitable for the Kansas City area of course)
can be found here...
Different flowers have different watering needs. The one
inch of water per week rule is a good start but it's always best
to keep an eye them. Look for the telltale signs of drought
stress including wilt, droopiness, and the premature loss of
foliage and/or blooms. Like vegetables your flowers will benefit
from deep and infrequent waterings. Also, a couple of inches of
mulch will do wonders to help retain soil moisture during the hot
A Hose By Any Other Name...
Hoses are easily the most common means of getting water to your
gardens and containers. Most gardeners give little thought to
their hoses until it's time to replace them. If you are
replacing a hose or just interested in a new one take a little
time and choose one that's best for you. Like most tools, hoses
are available in varying quality levels with prices that usually
follow. Hoses come in different diameters but 5/8-inch is the
most popular. Different diameters deliver different flow rates
and this may be an important factor in your choice. Use this
table to assist in sizing.
from Different Hose Sizes and Water Pressures
Flow rates are
in gallons per minute (gpm). 40 psi is typical water
pressure for most homes.
For many of us our lawns are the single biggest users of
"gardening water". Unfortunately excessive watering is wasteful
and can actually be harmful to your lawn. If waterings are too
light or too frequent the lawn can become weak and
shallow-rooted, which in turn makes it more susceptible to stress
injury. To make sure you get it right use the following steps to
determine the amount of water your sprinkler or sprinkler system
puts out and check its distribution pattern at the same time.
Determine the rate at which your sprinkler applies water to the
out three to five empty cans in a straight line going away
from the sprinkler. Set the last can near the edge of the
the sprinkler for a set time such as 1/2 hour.
Measure the amount of water in each can.
can will contain a different amount of water. Usually, the
can closest to the sprinkle will have the most water. The
sprinkler pattern must overlap to get an even wetness of the
soil. Use this information to find out how long it takes
your sprinkler to apply 1 inch of water. For example, if you
find that most cans contain about 1/4 inch of water after the
sprinkler runs 1/2 hour, it would take 4 x 1/2 or 2 hours to
apply 1 inch.
the sprinkler long enough to apply at least 1 inch of water or
until runoff occurs. If runoff occurs first:
sprinkler and note running time.
water to soak in for 1/2 hour.
runoff occurs, repeat above steps until at least 1 inch of
water has been applied and allowed to soak into the soil.
not water again until the lawn has completely dried out. (This
usually takes 5 or 6 days.)
enough water to wet the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches.
frequent light applications of water.
in early daylight hours.
a turfgrass with a low water requirement.
using soluble nitrogen fertilizers. (They promote high growth
rates which, in turn, increase water requirements of the
"What I do know is that few satisfactions match having
grown-up children who obviously share my belief that
digging in the earth has, since Eden, been the best way
of staying out of trouble and meanwhile experiencing
sensual delights that beggar my powers of descriptions."
~ Allen Lacy