Twig Tips by Jodie

Posted on July 30, 2014 by jo

Boy, Do They Need a Drink!

Boy, do they need a drink!  I'm talking about your plants....maybe the ones you planted this spring to replace something that took a hit this past winter.  Maybe the ones you planted LAST year that you think are established but aren't really.  It is the middle of summer and we seem to be going through a dry spell so we wanted to remind you that your plants need a drink! Watering plants to get them established and then to maintain their health can be a bit tricky at times.  Is it REALLY that difficult?  It seems like the difference between having a green thumb and a black one boils down to knowing when your plant needs a drink and how much to give them....they can be "over-served", we see more plants killed from too much water than not enough.

Remember, transplanting causes a certain amount of shock to a plant due to loss of roots, transportation and handling, and a change of growing conditions.  Many container plants have been growing in a very light potting soil to prevent root-rot. then we cut the circling roots at planting time.  Balled and burlapped plants have already had their roots trimmed when they were dug.  To help lessen transplant shock, they need to be thoroughly watered after planting and then monitored daily.  Depending upon what kind of soil they were moved into and what conditions (shady, sunny, windy...), they will dry out at different rates.  It is important to remember that EVERY plant that is newly planted will have different watering requirements.  That is why irrigation can be the bane of our existence....it treats every plant the same and/or can be "spotty", missing some plants altogether.  Irrigation can NOT be counted on to take care of a newly installed planting.  It helps, obviously, but you definitely need to keep an eye out for problems.

So, how do you know if a plant is getting enough water or "needs a drink"??? Your plants will tell you if you listen.  "I'm dying of thirst, I'm wilting, help me puleeeeeze"!  BUT they will also wilt if they are TOO wet due to root-rot so ALWAYS check the surrounding soil before watering again.  If after checking the soil and it is dry, apply water at a slow rate and allow time for it to soak into the ground.  If you have to, build a little dish around the plant to hold the water until it can soak in.  After a thorough, deep watering, you should be rewarded by seeing your plant perk up.  Consider it watered and continue to watch it.  This monitoring will be continuous for the first month or so.  Watering frequency will gradually be able to be spaced out as the plants become rooted.  Allowing them to partially dry out between waterings does encourage rooting and quicker establishment while preventing dreaded root-rot.

Watch for thirsty plants in your yard this summer and give 'em a drink, OK?  It's not like they can belly up to the bar and ask for one!

Off to check my plants, might need to "serve" one or two....Jodie

 

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