As summer begins in earnest, gardeners around Utah and other high-temperature states are focusing heavily on watering themes for their various plants. The summer is the period of the year when watering is most vital for a variety of plant and flower types, particularly those that are exposed to heavy periods of sunlight in the Utah desert climate.
At Millcreek Gardens, we’re proud to provide not only a huge range of garden plants, shrubs, trees and other materials, but also expertise on the care of any of our gardening elements. In this upcoming two-part blog series, we’ll give you a primer on everything you need to know about watering your plants during the summer – part one will go over some standard conditions and planting situations to be aware of, while part two will dig into specific recommendations we can give on how to water properly.
Checking Moisture Levels
One of the key themes throughout this series as we discuss plant watering in the summer: Checking water levels. This is one of the simplest and easiest ways to tell if you’re watering the garden properly – it involves digging down into the dirt surrounding plants after watering them.
If you’ve watered properly, you should see moisture at least three or four inches beneath the garden surface. If this soil is dry, on the other hand, it’s a clear sign that the roots of your plants are not getting enough water access, and you should increase your watering frequency or amounts. On the flip side, if water is leaking out from below the soil’s surface and pooling visibly in above-ground areas, this is a sign you’re over-watering and should tone things down.
Hot Conditions and Wilting
One common summer occurrence with some plants, including annual flowers and others in the garden, is mid-day wilting. This is a form of water conservation many plants take during the hottest period of the day, a shut-down that allows them to protect themselves from the heat while retaining as much previous moisture as they can.
So if you see this mid-day wilting, it is not necessarily a sign that plants need water. Watering may help some leaves perk back up, but you should only carry out additional watering if you’ve checked the soil and confirmed it has not received enough.
Veggies and Flowers
There are a few plant types where over-watering is a significant risk, and various vegetables and flower types are good examples. Tomato plants, for instance, may look rough or scraggly during parts of the summer, causing their owners to attempt to water them repeatedly – but this look actually doesn’t signal a need for more water, and over-watering won’t help. This look is due to the plant devoting all its energy to producing fruit, not any issue with water, and you’ll just be wasting your supply if you continue to water this area.
For more on summer plant watering, or to learn about any of our garden or nursery supplies, speak to the staff at Millcreek Gardens today.