Unwins Seeds

July 2013

18 July 2013 | Posted in Gardening by The Unwins Family

The verges around the office are turning a dusty bleached gold, partly because the roadsides are next to fields so stray cereal plants have escaped, but mostly because the dry sunny weather has dried and bleached the grass. What were lush green verges are now looking very Mediterranean.

The same thing is happening in our gardens and if you love your lawn and take pride in it this can be really distressing but although it looks ugly, grass roots are made of strong stuff. Grass may be the first plant to turn brown but it's also the first to recover! Just a couple of downpours will turn it back to green.

So let the grass wait for a while longer and when it comes to deciding what to water make newly planted bedding, seedlings and young plants your first priority.

Here are some of our top tips to make every drop of water count.

Water the roots not the leaves.

Aim water at plant roots, they are the parts that need to take up the water. Avoid drenching the foliage especially if there is a thick canopy of leaves above ground. Wet leaves and crowded plants trap still, humid air which is a main cause of fungal diseases such as mildew and it's made worse when roots are dry and leaves are wet.  

Water gently

It's tempting to turn the hose on full blast and get the most amount of water onto the soil in the shortest time. But that blast from the hose can be pretty destructive. It can scoop out the soil where it hits the ground, eroding light sandy soils and turning heavy clay soils into baked hardpan once they dry.

Adjust the tap for a gentle flow and when you're watering young plants and seedlings use a hose with a fine spray. Save the jet setting for directing water to the roots of established plants. 

Water consistently

Water hanging baskets and containers every day in summer and twice a day when temperatures are as hot as they've been this week. Again target the roots not the foliage. Loam based compost has a tendency to dry out In containers so  mix it half and half with multi-purpose compost and add feed and water retaining gel for an easy to water planting medium.

Don't over water.

At the moment plants need every drop of moisture but in normal temperatures over watering actually causes more plants to die than under watering.  

The symptoms of drought and drowning are almost identical! Leaves droop and the plant gradually wilts and dies. Container plants need reliably moist soil but too much water causes rot and fungal disease and as the roots are starved of oxygen  they literally drown.


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