During drought, proper watering can help plants survive dry spells. University of Missouri Extension horticulturist Debi Kelly provided several tips to help your plants survive lack of precipitation.
- Water in the morning. Watering in the evening lets water remain on leaves, making the plant susceptible to disease.
- Water at the base of the plant to avoid waste and prevent diseases.
- Water slowly and deeply. Plants need at least an inch of water weekly. Watering slowly allows water to infiltrate the soil and reach the roots. Drip lines and soaker hoses help with this.
- Don’t fertilize when it’s dry. Fertilizer encourages plants to grow, and the extra growth requires more water.
- Weed! Weeds rob wanted plants of water.
- Use mulch around root zones to hold moisture and cool the roots.
- Water some plants more often. Plants in containers and raised beds need more frequent watering because they dry more quickly.
Check soil moisture levels. Soil may appear dry on top, but there might be adequate moisture beneath. Use a screwdriver to test. Poke a screwdriver into the soil and pull it out. If it comes out clean, the soil is dry and it’s time to water.