Local temperatures could soar to record levels later this week. Seattle may be warmer than Phoenix, an unusual occurrence. Friday’s highs are forecast to be in the mid-80s F in Seattle and lower 80s F in Phoenix. It is time to water your landscape.
Your lawn and garden will need slow, deep watering to survive the early heat. Water early in the morning for maximum benefit.
If you are watering by hand, don’t be impatient. Allow the water time to soak into the ground, then water again.
If you don’t have an automatic irrigation system, water timers that screw onto the faucet make it easier to give your plants the right amount of water. These are readily available at garden stores.
Maintain your watering system
If you have not gotten your watering system ready, don’t delay.
- If you have an automatic irrigation system, check to make sure it is working properly. Look at water pressure, check for broken sprinkler heads, look at head angles and more. Here is information on maintaining a sprinkler system.
- If you have a drip irrigation system, flush it and check for missing or clogged emitters. Here is information on maintaining a drip system.
- If you use sprinklers and hoses, are they in good shape?
One inch per week
Your lawn and landscape need about one inch of water per week. Here is a short video on how to tell when your lawn has gotten one inch of water.
Watering new plantings
If you have newly planted trees, shrubs, grasses or perennials, make sure to water deeply and often. New plantings are especially vulnerable for the first two or three growing seasons, until their roots are established.
Here is a short video on a great way to water new trees.
Think about the future
Hotter temperatures and drier summers are likely to be the new normal. This year Seattle hit 79 degrees in March, making it the hottest winter day on record. And we will likely break heat records again this week.
How can your landscape best survive in a hotter, drier future? Here are a few ideas to consider.
- Limit the amount of area devoted to your lawn. Lawns need great quantities of water, particularly in the summer.
- Choose plants that will thrive with less water. Check out last week’s blog post on choosing new plants..
- Annuals tend to be thirsty plants. If you like flowers, favor perennials. Or group a few annual plants in an area with high traffic and visibility, such as near your front door.
- Thick layers of mulch will help plants survive hot, dry summers. You should replenish mulch about once a year. See our recent blog post about mulch.
- Water properly. Frequent, shallow watering will lead to plants with shallow roots that are more prone to drought stress. It is best to water less often but for longer periods of time.
Here is a video on how to water to create strong and healthy plants.
Here is a recent blog post about watering resources. This includes our own resources and others that we recommend.