Thursday, July 5, 2012

Watering Plants During Drought

Landscapes are suffering from drought conditions. Shade trees, lawns, shrubs, flower beds, and vegetables require deep, thorough watering on a regular basis to maintain healthy and safe growth.

The duration (how much) and frequency (how often) regarding watering varies greatly with the age of the plant, plant type, sun exposure, soil conditions, planting site preparation, and the environment. It is best to water in the early morning so plants will have available water throughout the sunny day.

Mulching newly planted and established plantings will help conserve soil moisture. Many types of mulch are available including pine straw, shredded bark, shredded hardwood, etc. Apply a 1-2 inch thick mulch layer around tender bedding plants and shallow-rooted herbaceous plants and a thicker layer, up to 4-inches, around shrubs and trees.

The best irrigation is accomplished by allowing water to slowly penetrate the soil. If water puddles on the surface, stop, and then start watering again after all water has been absorbed. Dig a hole to check the depth the water has penetrated.

An important part of gardening successfully is learning to water your plants properly. Learning how to water properly is not complicated, but during hot, dry weather it can make a world of difference to the health of the plants in your landscape.

Most plants in the landscape, but particularly those planted this spring, will need supplemental watering during hot, dry weather conditions. Moisture stress due to lack of available water can result in reduced flowering, leaf drop, increased pest problems, substantial decline or even plant death and the loss of the investment they represent. Applying water deeply and thoroughly when needed is the key to proper watering.

Hand watering is ideal for watering plants growing in containers and hanging baskets. To water properly, apply water until you see it come out of the drainage holes. Plants in containers have a limited amount of soil for the roots to grow in, and they dry out very rapidly during hot, dry weather. These plants often need to be watered every day, especially those growing in smaller pots.

Don’t allow container plants to wilt before watering them. Even though they may revive, wilting causes damage that can lead to bud drop, leaf drop and scorched leaf edges. If you find that you need to water container plants more than once a day to prevent wilting, the plants are probably root bound and need to be repotted into a larger container, or you need to move them into a shadier location.

Proper watering is not that hard. But it is very important, especially when the weather is hot and dry. It basically requires watching the weather, paying attention to your plants, checking the moisture in the soil and common sense.

Following these tips will help assure that your plants remain healthy during the ongoing drought.

Shade trees: Water large, established shade trees every two weeks in the absence of a deep, soaking rain. During periods of drought and without supplemental water from irrigation, the wood within the tree can develop internal cracks which can result in branch failure. Maintain health and safety by watering to a depth of 8-10 inches every two weeks.

Lawns: Centipede and St. Augustine grass develop leaves and roots from above-ground stolons. As the grass wilts from lack of water, stolons become stressed and overall plant growth and health suffer. Maintain lawn vigor by watering thoroughly to a depth of 4 inches when the grass blades begin to fold inward.

Shrubs: Established woody shrubs like azalea, holly, camellia, cleyera, hydrangea, etc., will require water weekly. Water newly planted plants at first sign of wilting. Some evergreens do not wilt but the leaf color will change - so be alert.

Flower beds: Tender bedding plants and herbaceous perennials often require frequent watering - possibly twice a week. Plants may wilt during midday heat but revive after the sun goes down. Avoid overwatering and saturating the soil.

Vegetables: As plants grow and mature and begin producing a crop, they will require ever-increasing amounts of water. Any water stress may result in flower drop and crop loss.

Stay cool while attempting to save your landscaping during these tough drought conditions. Until next time. Ebbie :)!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Insure Fireworks Safety

For people who prefer to avoid the crowds and celebrate the holidays with fireworks at home, a few tips can help keep everyone safe and happy this week.

In 2010, emergency rooms across the country treated approximately 8,600 people for fireworks-related injuries. Almost three-fourths of those injuries occurred between June 18 and July 18. Of those, according to the United States Fire Administration:

•65 percent were to males and 35 percent were to females

•40 percent of the injuries were children under 15 years old

•Children and young adults under 20 years old had 53 percent of the estimated injuries

•An estimated 900 injuries were associated with firecrackers

•An estimated 1,200 injuries were associated with sparklers and 400 with bottle rockets

•The parts of the body most often injured were hands and fingers (30 percent), legs (22 percent), eyes (21 percent) and head, face and ears (16 percent)

•More than half of the injuries were burns

To ensure that your home fireworks display is as safe as possible, experts say that it is important to follow all the directions and use common sense.

“If you just follow the directions fireworks are relatively safe,” Mike McCain, owner of Insane McCain Fireworks, said. “The only problems we’ve had in the past, and I’ve been in this business 27 years, was people misusing them. They’ve come a long way with technology and how fireworks shoot. Usually they’re pretty true about what they’re suppose to do.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Council on Fireworks Safety also recommends:

•Buy from reliable sources

•Always have a plan to safely extinguish fireworks, such as a bucket of water and a garden hose in case things get out of hand

•Never try to re-light a firework. If one fails, wait 15-20 minutes and douse it with water

•Never point or throw fireworks at people, animals or property

•Never shoot fireworks in a metal or glass container

•The person lighting the fireworks should have protective eye wear and use caution when handling fireworks.

Local veterinarians also caution that people with outdoor pets should bring the pets in or ensure they are secured because normally docile animals can often become panicked during a fireworks show.

These animals can become destructive or escape.
Please have a happy and safe 4th of July and we would love to see you if you plan on visiting the Lake of the Ozarks. Until next time!! Ebbie :)