Keeping your plants watered

Precious water: There are ways to water your garden effectively during the dry times of the year.
Precious water: There are ways to water your garden effectively during the dry times of the year.

Rain, or the lack of it, is certainly one of the hot topics at the moment.

If you have been watering, make sure you are giving your plants a long slow drink, rather than a quick sprinkle over everything. 

At this time of year, deciduous trees that are budding up and have not yet broken into leaf can be deceptive in terms of their water needs.

Check the buds and if they are looking a little shrivelled, give the tree or shrub a good long slow drink.

A moisture meter can help work out how far down the water has infiltrated into the soil after you have watered.

If using a dripper system, you may find that leaving the tap on a really slow drip over a longer period of time, even say overnight, will give better results that having the tap on full flow, which may also burst the drippers or the end stopper.

Using a sprinkler in windy weather can result in significant losses through evaporation of up to 40 per cent of the applied water evaporating. That means you need to use 40 per cent more water to get the same amount of water on to the ground as when you water on a cool morning with no wind and high humidity.

The best watering systems if you must water in windy weather are those that require only a low pressure, deliver a large droplet size and are applied close to the ground.

Ensure bare soil is mulched to reduce weed growth and to retain as much moisture from your watering as possible. Soils left bare can very quickly lose moisture, especially on warmer, windy days.

If any garden beds have already dried out, water them first before mulching as a layer of mulch can be as good at keeping water out as it is in keeping it in.

Jobs for September

  • Divide chrysanthemum clumps and discard old stems.
  • Mow the lawn but not too low. The grass clippings can be used to start a new compost heap.
  • Keep up with the weeding.
  • Deadhead daffodils and jonquils as the flowers fade, but leave the foliage to die down naturally.
  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs, including sprekelia, tuberose and gladioli.

For best effect when planting gladioli corms, plant them in groups of five or more, and 7-10cm (3-4in) deep.

The deeper the gladioli corms are planted, the less likely will be the need to stake the plants.

The Armidale Garden Club’s next meeting will be held on Thursday, September 27 at 7.30pm in the Armidale Uniting Church Hall. Just bring yourself and your questions along – everyone is welcome and supper is provided.