Summer irrigation

It’s been a long, beautiful spring. But summer is here. So a few words about summer watering might be in order. In a perfect world, we’d get a slow 1” rainfall each week………….. preferably overnight on Wednesday! But as you know, it’s not a perfect world. So thankfully we can supplement mother nature. Those of you with established plantings can sit back, relax and not worry about it. Your landscaping is used to Ohio weather and can cope just fine with cold wet winters and hot dry summers. The only time you should be concerned is during one of those prolonged droughts that last a month or more. In those conditions, even established big trees would benefit from a deep watering to help them through a drought.

However, new plantings should be given a weekly watering until they’ve had a chance to become established. A slow trickle for a deep soaking, once a week is normally fine. The bigger, deeper root balls, like those on big trees, can easily last at least a week between watering. It’s all a matter of how big the root ball is and how deep it’s planted. Smaller container plants like shrubs and perennials might need a drink a couple times per week. But still, a deep watering infrequently is better than a shallow dousing every day. Grass seed, on the other hand, needs that shallow dousing everyday. New grass seed needs to stay constantly moist for weeks before sprouting.
“No worries” you say…………….I’ve got irrigation. Of course with grass seed a sprinkler over a large area is perfect. But for individual plants in beds, sprinkling the whole bed will just encourage weeds and not sufficiently water the target plants. Please don’t try to make this chore too easy. It’s not that hard anyway. Automatic irrigation isn’t perfect. It could miss a few plants on the edges, make others too wet and really isn’t necessary. I’ve seen irrigation heads watering the street and running in the rain! Watering from a slow trickling hose right at the base of the plant will assure that the root systems are getting wet. I realize that many newer homes have irrigation systems already installed. This is normally intended just for the lawn. The established landscape beds, as mentioned, won’t normally need supplemental irrigation. In fact, lawns don’t need it either, unless you are trying to keep your lawn bright green all summer. Our northern grasses are typically “cool season” grasses that naturally go dormant in the summer. That’s when you can take a break on mowing! The green grass will bounce back in the fall. Of course, beware that those occasional long droughts can cause “dormant” grass to go “dead”. So again, one watering in the middle of a prolonged drought is well worthwhile.

Enjoy the Ohio summer and please contact me if you have any questions!