Little Garden Tool, Little Garden Tip

It breaks my heart to see beautiful new landscape trees and shrubs brought home from the nursery and planted, then allowed to get too dry at some point during their first springs and summers. All that beauty and all that hope, money and effort wasted just because somebody didn’t water quite enough.

Sprinkler irrigation alone will not be adequate. Nursery plants are grown in lightweight potting soils. All their roots are in those original soil balls and that soil dries out more quickly than adjacent soil.

We must provide supplemental irrigation for all of the first growing season. That means that we need to keep a garden hose handy and that we need to soak these plants deeply every two or three days. The problem comes if we try to do it quickly. The hard stream of water coming out of a garden hose will erode soil from the planting area.

This simple watering tool pays for itself in a hurry. Just look for “water bubbler for irrigation.”

A water breaker spray head at the end of the hose helps a great deal, but for “full volume watering,” the very best device is a simple water bubbler. These cost $10 or less. They are made of aluminum and they will last for many years.

Water bubblers are about the size of a man’s fist. The holes in the side walls of the bubblers are about the size of a pencil. They allow you to turn on the water flow at full volume. The water will rush through the hose, but it will bubble out this device without force capable of washing soil away. You can lay it inside the basin you have created around the plant and let it fill the reservoir. It is the ideal way to water new plants.

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The only problem with water bubblers is in finding them. Slowly but surely local independent garden centers and hardware stores are beginning to offer them, but I would suggest calling ahead to ask if they have one. The Gilmour Company seems to be the most common manufacturer. I do find many sources online.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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