Tropical South

June, 2004
Regional Report

Don't Drown Your Lawn

Lawns that get twice the amount of water they need often manage not to show the stress until they come down with insect and disease problems that owners do not always realize are connected to the overwatering.

Enjoy Hand Watering

If you don't have an automatic system at all, that is okay. I don't. Many of the good gardeners I interview do not. We drag the hose and dip in the rainbarrels and have no problems. It is legal to
hand water with a hose any time of any day of the week, as long as there is a shut-off valve at the end of the hose.

Time Your Watering for Most Efficiency

It is still better to water early in the morning or late in the day so you don't lose so much by evaporation. Many people, especially rose growers, make it a point to water early enough in the evening so that the foliage doesn't stay wet into the night. Others don't feel that this is a big problem. But keep it in mind if you are seeing mildew or fungus diseases on your plants.

Give All Plants a Frequent Shower

As you hand water those newly set and container plants, give everything a quick shower with a forceful spray to wash off the insect eggs and disease organisms. And spend your gardening time pruning or weeding so the rain helps the growth that you really want.

Keep Using Mulch

Mulch will soak up the rain and make it last longer, prevent erosion, discourage weeds, and keep the soil and the plant roots cooler during the heat of the day. As it breaks down, it enriches the soil and becomes humus that also helps retain the moisture and the nutrients around the roots. All of this will increase beneficial microbial action and earthworms in the soil.

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