How can I avoid the watering roller coaster?
Carla Smith Horticulture Educator, Pottawatomie County Extension Service
Our time has been an adventure of ups and downs, wet and dry conditions. Although somewhat typical of Oklahoma, it can be a challenge for gardeners. We also seem to have had a lot of windy days, which is drying out our soil and plants even more. Plant selection plays an important role in how much water you will potentially use for a garden.
Plants need water, but how you water and how much water you water can make a big difference in plant health and how your wallet is affected. Below are some tips on how to water so you don’t waste water or money and have healthy plants.
• Water abundantly, but rarely. Allowing water to soak into the soil and allowing the soil to dry out between waterings forces plants to produce strong, deep roots.
• Mulching retains soil moisture, prevents erosion, controls weeds and improves soil quality.
• Install a rain sensor. A rain sensor turns off the irrigation system during and immediately after a rainfall event.
• Do not water landscaping. Make sure sprinklers are watering the lawn and not the street or sidewalks.
• Avoid heavy sizes. Pruning stimulates growth and your plants will need more water.
• Mature plants require less water. Mature plants and trees have deep root systems and can be watered less frequently.
• If you choose new plants, choose those that use less water to maintain. Check out our great resource: https://extension.okstate.edu/fact-sheets/print-publications/e/water-efficient-sept-2020-e-1051.pdf
• Consider installing a rain barrel that can collect rainwater to use for your lawn or landscape.
• Divert gutter drains to strategic landscaping locations using a divider or perforated drainage system, directing water away from the foundation, but toward landscaping or lawns. When designing, you need to plan for heavy rain, as well as drought options. Consider your soil type and plant water needs. When things go wrong, you can overwater your plants. Sandy soil will drain much faster. Plan this one well!
Please call or email if you have any questions about water conservation and gardening, 405-273-7683 or email [email protected] Happy gardening!