Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Will My Plants Survive This Drought?

Even the trees are looking wilted.  It's a bit unnerving when the leaves on the dogwood begin to curl.  Zero precipitation in June and scorching heat in July have left the landscape so void of moisture that gardeners are left to wonder whether the damage will be permanent?  The answer is "maybe."

It's not so much the lack of moisture but the heat that threatens growth.  Couple that with a lower water table, and thirsty trees leave less and less moisture for surrounding plants.

Hydrangea and other tender perennials are the most vulnerable.  Newly planted annuals need constant supplemental water.   The windowboxes? Fugedaboudit. 

In ground irrigation needs to be doubled in time.  Once in the morning, and once in the evening so long as no community water restrictions are in effect.  Supplement with oscillating sprinklers until the weather turns wet. 

Pots should be moved to the shade until the temperatures drop at least ten degrees.  Set them in pans of water or purchase clear plastic base liners from home and garden centers for a couple dollars. 

Planning to travel?  Fill some empty two liter pop bottles, place tiny puncture marks in the top and bottom and set around the base of plants. 

I take the spray attachment off the end of the hose, open the spigot, place the hose end at the base of larger shrubs and small trees and and just let the water flow at the base for a few minutes while weeding, moving the hose end frequently until the bases are saturated.  Repeat on alternate days.

Just don't get distracted and forget.  Smart phone alarms can avoid disaster. 

Don't be discouraged.  So long as the root system is protected, above ground damage is generally reversible in most non-woody perennials.

Pinching back spent blooms helps preserve plant energy and the need for moisture. 

The vagrancies of nature--that's life in the garden.

Stay hydrated!

More Articles of Interest:

Impatiens Disease -- Trouble in the Landscape

Gnomes Get Kids Gardening

Houseplants 101 -- Water Warmth and Nitrogen Smoothies