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Dig Right Minute

Avoid problematic yellowing of leaves, burned-out patches of grass, drooping plants and other issues related to watering (or the lack thereof) in your garden and lawn.

Remember these simple tips when watering!

1. More delicate plants, including any new trees, shrubs, perennials or seed/sod that you’ve planted this year, typically require more moisture than more mature plants. That said, it doesn’t matter what plant you have: keep in mind that you should water plants, shrubs, trees or lawns when needed. What does that mean? For annual and perennial plants, check them on a regular (even daily) basis to see if they look healthy and gauge the moisture in the soil. If the dirt is dry, cracked or crumbly and you haven’t watered in a while or experienced a good rainfall, then water. You can also dig right in with your finger or a trowel and check the soil 3 to 4 inches below the surface to determine moisture.

2. Many experts recommend watering in the morning. It’s not only a pleasant time of day to be out in the garden, but if you go a little overboard, the plants or lawn have the extra daylight and warmth to dry out a bit.  Automatic timers are a handy tool for today’s busy gardeners, but if there have been several days of regular rainfall, as there has been this summer, you should hold back or tweak the timer accordingly. Excessive watering can make your trees/shrubs become dependent on irrigation rather than resilient enough to survive on what nature provides

3. Adjust your watering time and amounts by the depth of the plants. Annuals, like geraniums and petunias, generally have roots down to about six inches. Perennials, shrubs and trees have roots that extend down as much as 12 inches. So it can take longer for the water to get down deeper for those varieties.  Soaker hoses work well for watering trees and shrubs and tend to more efficient than overhead sprinklers.  Mulching around trees and shrubs will also help conserve moisture (and keep weeds away).  Avoid placing mulch against the trunk as this will help avoid rot

Don’t forget to call before you dig! Whenever you’re disturbing the ground, especially when planting trees, shrubs, groundcovers or plants, be safe and call JULIE at 811 or log onto JULIE’s www.Illinois1call.com website and fill out an e-request. It’s free and crucial to avoid hitting underground lines, even in areas where you assume it’s safe to dig.

 

Dig Right Minute
by Tony Abruscato
Director, Chicago Flower & Garden Show

Sponsored in part by JULIE, The Chicago Flower & Garden Show presents realistic, as well as DIY solutions to inspire, educate and motivate gardening enthusiasts and newbies alike.  Blooming at Navy Pier - March 12-20, 2016.