Last week we talked about how your water may be killing your plants. This week let's look at some ways to ensure we put our best green thumb forward in managing our garden space. Watering comes down to two components, efficiency, and effectiveness. In simple terms, we want to be efficient. Water is scarce for many and should be stewarded by all of us in a better manner when able. Effectiveness or lack thereof is easily noticed when lawn sprinklers are being sprayed in the middle of a hot sunny day in high winds. So how do we begin focusing on these two attributes of water efficacy to ensure plant health?
Here are six points of consideration:
1. Mulch - this is simply a form of biomimicry. In nature, we find the dead organic materials of seasons past build up on the ground’s surface. This helps to hugely reduce water evaporation as well as keep the top 6” of the soil cool where a lot of the surface roots tend to rest. What takes nature hundreds or thousands of years to add topsoil and mulch, we can simply do in an afternoon.
2. Water less frequently and more thoroughly - if we are following the previous suggestion of mulch, then less water is evaporating which means the ground can hold the water longer. As long as we ensure the root zone is being hydrated then we have a longer span of time we can go without watering. This is much better than a daily quick spray with the hose where the water demands of the plant may be met.
3. Water in the mornings... or at night - these times are both better than the hot mid-day. Of these two options, mornings are preferred. When plants, leaves, and soil are wet through the night in warmer climates, it can sometimes be breeding ground for fungi and other diseases.
4. Keep leaves dry - wet leaves in the hot sun can get burned as well as at night when leaf-mold can occur if leaves stay wet. Watering in the morning prevents this as the water can begin to dry before the sun is too hot to scorch the plants.
5. Avoid overwatering - just like plants can die with not enough water, they can also die due to having too wet of “feet”. Plants are similar to us, they must breathe. Unfortunately, many times by the time we notice over-watering, it is already hurting a plant and is far too late for the plant to recover.
6. Utilize an irrigation system - these systems have the ability to incorporate ground moisture sensors or even be connected to the weather stations to prevent watering on rainy days. Irrigation systems allow us to get the water exactly where we need it and the exact amounts needed which is one of the best insurances we can have in place for Agriscaping abundance.
Each of these items above really help us to reach maximum efficiency and effectiveness while maintaining health from the perspective of the plant. Efficient watering saves us time, money, and energy and maintains enough water for everyone. Strive for proper watering effectiveness and efficiency and you will find that your success begins to grow.
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