Still a Critical Issue

I addressed this earlier this year here, but many people must have missed it.

Water bubbler costs only a few dollars, allows rapid watering. Once you have one you’ll never be without one. Here it’s running at full volume, yet the water flow is little more than a bubbling brook.

New plants must be watered by hand for their first couple of years in their new planting sites. Sprinkler irrigation won’t cut it. Drip irrigation won’t do it. Those silly bags of water strapped around plants’ trunks are a joke.

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You must soak them deeply, and you must do so frequently.

The easiest way to accomplish both tasks is to form a water-retaining berm around each plant by using the soil you have left over after you plant it. Think of it as a donut-shaped levee around every plant.

And then buy yourself a water bubbler and a water wand and water the plants by hand.

Boring? I suppose so.

Hot? Yes, it is.

But does it work? Yes, when nothing else does.

Dwarf yaupon holly was just planted from a 5-gallon pot. It will get 5 gallons of water every other day for the first couple of summers.

Give each plant as much water as the container size from which it was planted.

If it came out of a 5-gallon pot, give it 5 gallons of water every 2-3 days. If it came out of a 20-gallon pot, give it 20 gallons of water every 2-3 days.

Don’t be surprised if you have to water the plants twice to get that much water to soak into their soil. That’s OK. Trust me – it would be almost impossible to over-water plants at these temperatures.

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Do that until temperatures start to fall in mid-September. If you get a 2-inch rain at your house, you can skip one day.

Folks, I realize most Texas cities are asking that we cut back on water consumption. However, do it somewhere else. Your shade trees aren’t going to die if you don’t water them for a couple of weeks. Established shrubs have a greater margin of error. But new plants have almost no leeway. Miss a day and your time, effort and investment may have been wasted.

This once lovely new dwarf Burford holly was lost because the person charged with watering it didn’t realize the signs of a drought-stressed plant.
Posted by Neil Sperry
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