Our guide to outdoor watering in dry weather
Drought (the definition for a gardener): drought is considered to occur in a garden when the soil moisture in the plant root zone is exhausted and the plants wilt. A continuous period of 15 days when there has been no measurable rain.
1) In hot weather, water in the cool of the early morning, in the evening the soil and the atmosphere will still be very warm and applied water will quickly evaporate.
2) Frequent light watering does not penetrate deep into the soil, soak the soil to a good depth from time to time. This will encourage deeper rooting and the tapping of water at lower levels.
3) After a heavy watering apply a mulch around the plant or tree, leaving 4-6 inches around the main stem to prevent fungal attacks. Remember that fine water absorbing roots are not under the trunk, but towards the edge of the plant canopy.
4) If water is not available it has been traditional to hoe the surface soil, but not deeply as you may be cutting surface roots. A crumbly, hoed surface will prevent transpiration from lower depths and facilitate the rapid absorption of rain, or water, which is applied.
5) When watering with a hose, use a rose in the end so that there is no solid water stream as this would contribute to water run-off and erosion.
6) There are now many good water sprinklers on the market which have a wide range of spray patters for efficient watering in a round or rectangular pattern. A sprinkler in conjunction with a water timer in the hose line will make the whole process so much easier.
7) Seep-hoses are particularly useful as they can be wound amongst plants that are susceptible to drought and left down all year.
8) Whenever possible, use rainwater (collected in a rainwater butt) for watering lime hating plants. such as rhododendrons, camellias, etc.
9) It’s worth noting that, half an inch of rain equals approx. 13,600 galls/acre or 2.8 gall/sq.
10) Remember, waterlogging can be as bad as drought!
Posted 26th Jun 3:10pm