So what does this mean for you? A little extra effort. Frisco residents, for example, are permitted to water 1-inch-per-week via their in-ground irrigation system beginning June 1st. This means residents must hand-water to supplement their irrigation system.
In an effort to assist our customers and prospective clients, we will list tips here that will help to keep your plants hydrated this summer. Follow this plan whether your garden is well-established or brand-spanking-new. This plan should be followed until Labor Day, when restrictions are likely to be lifted.
- Add mulch. Not just any mulch, mind you. We use exclusively Fine Shredded Hardwood Mulch from Living Earth Technologies. There are other good brands: one sold through Home Depot and Lowe's called "Black Diamond" and Plano Pure's hardwood mulch. Whatever the brand, just be sure it's not cedar or cypress mulch, or pine bark nuggets. The Living Earth product retains moisture which will help your plants stay hydrated in summer, insulated in winter. However, we prefer it because it also feeds the soil as it decomposes.
- Test soil surrounding your plants. Insert your index finger approximately 2-3" into the soil. Is it wet or dry? If wet, don't water. Test each day until the soil is dry, then proceed to the next step.
- Deep-root water each plant individually. Lay a garden hose at the base of the first plant and turn the faucet until water streams lightly from the hose. Allow the water to permeate the soil and root ball for 20-30 seconds, then move your hose to the next plant. Repeat this step for every plant in your garden, young or mature. Even well-established plants will be affected by lack of rain and irrigation, so it's important to protect your investment. Deep-root watering will encourage roots to grow downward in their search for moisture. If you water on the surface only you are training the roots to grow outward, creating a shallow root system which is weaker than a deep-root system.
- Operate your irrigation system once-per-week. Ideally you will do this manually, but if you must, set your system to automatically spray one time, up to 1-inch-per-week. Check with your lawn maintenance company, irrigation installer, or irrigation box manufacturer for instructions on managing your system.
- Cross your fingers! Perhaps we will have rain again someday, returning lakes to their normal levels and eliminating water restrictions. When that happens, test the soil before you resume your watering regimen.
Remember, even low-maintenance gardens and landscapes need extra attention this summer. It might seem at times you are working too hard to keep plants hydrated but if you help them during this unusual season, they will be stronger and more likely to survive future exceptional weather. And you will be protecting your investment!