Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 2011

Water. Water. Water. I really can't remember when we last had a good rain or even snow for that matter...was it December 31st? Watering in June is a real time sponge but very necessary.  Watering correctly is even more important. So here are some watering thoughts. The purpose of watering is to hydrate the roots so that they can hydrate the stems, trunks and leaves of plants. When you water you need to think about soaking the entire root area and slightly beyond. This will encourage root exploration and production. When watering any landscape plant you need to water out to the dripline. That imaginary line where (imaginary) rain would fall from the branches or outermost leaves. If you have a well or basin around your plants to hold the water this needs to be enlarged as the plant grows.

Never shallow water or water everyday as this will cause shallow rooting and the plant will only be able to survive from day to day. I have heard many times that a plant has been in the ground for several years and not grown. When I ask about watering the answer is almost always that they water everyday. In order for a tree or shrub to get new top growth it needs new root growth to support that new top growth. By shallow watering everyday you don't encourage any new root growth.

Overwatering is just as bad as underwatering. Plants need to go through a cycle of wetting and drying. Too much water will deprive the plant's roots of necessary oxygen and too little will kill the roots. Check your plants daily for their water needs when first planted and less often once they become established by digging down in the soil an inch or two and, if it is dry, water thoroughly. Even "drought tolerant" plants need to be checked and watered accordingly. They just tend to need it less often.

Plants do 80% of their root growth in late summer, fall and WINTER! It is especially important to keep them hydrated year round. They will obviously not need to be watered as often during cooler months as they do in June but they still need to be checked for their needs. I have had many customers over the years tell me that a tree has leafed out in spring just fine and then when the hot weather hit it died. The cause of this was lack of winter moisture. Because Mother Nature didn't provide any winter moisture and they failed to provide some, roots were damaged and the tree had enough root to survive the cooler weather in the spring but didn't have enough root to supply the tree once it got hot.

Last but not least don't water the foliage of plants, only the root area. Watreing leaves can scorch them if done in the hot sun and it also encourages diseases like powdery mildew. The exception to this rule is evergreens such as Pines, Junipers and Arborvitae. They can benefit from being hosed down when you water them as they tend to get spider mites which like hot, dry conditions.

 I hope this clears up some misconceptions about watering and helps you create a healthy environment for your landscape plants. 

Lysimanchia atropurpurea. I was introduced to the Loosetrife 'Beaujolais' in my friend and fellow gardener, Vivian Savitt's garden last June. I knew this perennial was so striking we had to grow it and we now have it available at the nursery. 'Beaujolais' forms mounds of gray, slightly ruffled long leaves spreading to 24" wide. In summer, arching spikes of burgundy flowers appear 24-36" tall. This plant is very cold hardy at 20 to 30 degrees below zero and attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. We have been growing them in full sun at our home nursery and they seem to be doing fine but in Vivian's garden they were in part shade and blooming very well. I think this Loosestrife is a must for any perennial garden.

By popular demand we are once again carrying Yum Yum Mix. It is a premium blend of eight natural ingredients that feeds the soil that feeds your plants. It improves soil tilth, moisture retention, plant vigor and stress resistance. Used regularly it helps create a balanced pH and a naturally fertile soil. Perfect for trees, shrubs, perennials, vegetables, annuals and lawns. Use 1-4 pounds per 100 sq. ft. Yum Yum Mix does not contain any animal ingredients.

We are selling tickets for the Evergreen Garden Club's Annual Garden Tour this year. This is always a great event. They support:
  • Mimbres Community Garden
  • Bayard Community Garden
  • Mimbres Valley Harvest Festival
  • Earth Day
  • Adopt-a-Highway
  • Habitat for Humanity and more
Go and have a great time!! It is on Saturday, June 18th. Stop and pick up one (or several) for only $5.00 a piece.