Despite the cooler temps we experienced before Memorial Day, New Englanders know the summer promises periods of sizzling heat!
The outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, predicts a moderate drought season for the Northeast, so watering properly and consistently will be key.
So how do we protect the investment we have in our hard-won gardens from the damages of the extreme summer temps we can be prone to here in New England?
We’re answering some frequently asked watering questions from the field, with tips from Studley’s Landscaping Experts on how to water to beat the heat!
When To Water?
We recommend giving gardens a good watering in the early morning to best combat the heat of the day. Very late afternoon is ok too, but do so early enough to allow time for leaves to dry before the sun goes down
Spinkler vs. Soaker Hose?
Everyone wants to know which is better, a sprinkler or soaker hose. Sprinklers are great for broad use on areas like the lawn, but in the garden they aren’t as efficient because they likely will overspray the area and take a long time to saturate the soil. Soaker hoses are the preferred choice for both vegetable gardens and flower beds because water goes most directly to the root systems, avoiding evaporation and disease from soggy leaves.
What Is The Optimal Grass Height?
One of the most common mistakes we see in the field with burned lawns, is when grass is being cut too short. Resist the temptation of short term gains. Although you might mow less often when grass is cut short, the heat and sun can do irreparable damage to your lawn in the long run. Set your mower to the highest level, ideally no lower than 3″. With grass mowed high, root systems can develop deeper, to better tolerate drought conditions.
Do I Need Mulch?
Adding a 1-2″ layer of mulch is not only recommended for aesthetics, but it also serves to retain moisture in your garden, keep soil cool and prevent the weeds that will compete with your plants for available water.
How Much Should I Water?
Our clients always ask how much watering they should be doing. The answer is, different areas of your garden will have different watering needs. In normal temperatures, lawns normally require about 1″ of water per week. With this rule of thumb, you can get a sprinkler & rain gauge from your local garden center or hardware store for just a few dollars. The sprinkler gauge will measure the water while your sprinkler runs each day, and you can factor in natural rainfall to measure your weekly lawn watering needs. Ideally, you will arrive at an optimal number for watering the lawn every couple of days.
Deep rooted plants like shrubs or perennials require less water than your shallow rooted annual flowers. Test proper watering timing by using a trowel to make a small hole to check saturation after 10 minutes. If the soil is saturated to the the depth of the roots of the type of plant (annual or perennial), you have watered enough. If not, continue watering and testing at 5 minute intervals. You will likely find you only need to do this exercise once or twice to find your ideal watering time for flower beds.
Keep containers and boxes moist, allowing them to dry only slightly between watering.
What Are The Benefits Of An Irrigation System?
A professionally installed sprinkler system is the smart way to water your lawn and gardens, without lifting a finger! You’ll never have to worry about forgetting to water again. You’ll appreciate reduced water consumption, ease of use, lush green lawns, colorful gardens and time saved. Your lawn and gardens will be the envy of the neighborhood. Irrigation systems increase property values and give you peace of mind that your lawn and gardens are receiving just the right amount of water.
Our irrigation specialists have been installing and maintaining residential and commercial irrigation systems for more than 20 years, including start-up and winterization of your system or irrigation system repair.
We hope your lawn and gardens enjoy a lush, well-watered summer!