Saturday, January 5, 2013

Drowning in drought

Drought (Photo credit: Bert Kaufmann)
Your garden is beautiful.  Your years of hard work has gotten your garden to where you want it, but at some point in time, every gardener must face the realities of drought.

For your plants to survive a drought, they must be healthy, planted in good soil and have well established roots.  Well established trees and bushes two years or older can go without water for an extended period of time.  Because pruning and fertilizing increases the need for water it is best not to prune or fertilize during this period.

Since every gardener would hate to see their garden whither slowly to nothing, they must identify which plants are worth saving.  In light of this, enjoy your annuals while you can because watering these would just be a waste of limited resources.  Although there are some annuals that do hold up well in a drought, such as celosia, salvia, vinca and lantana to name a few.  To help annuals survive longer, water one last time and laying down a heavy layer of mulch this might help over a short drought period.  Another way would be to dig up your annuals and put in pots that could easily be watered.

Every gardener has a few prized perennials and would do almost anything to save them.  Most perennials can survive on an inch of water weekly.  Those perennials with shallow roots would benefit with a layer of mulch and at least an inch of water every couple weeks.  Of course, if your area is known to go into drought conditions; more than likely you have planted drought tolerant perennials that will survive with little or no water for extended periods of time.

Other ways to counter drought periods is using a drip watering system or soaker hoses which deliver water to the root system of the plants in a more direct way.  Plus water is not lost into the air.

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