Watering Gardens in the Heat

Here’s the deal on watering in the heat. So there’s been a heat wave and some inexperienced gardeners see their garden plants wilting and assume it’s a lack of water.

Before you water a wilting plant – put your finger on the soil to see if that soil is damp a few centimeters below the surface!

Plants wilt because they’re losing more moisture than they can pick up from their roots.

If there is adequate soil moisture, adding more isn’t going to make it any easier for the plant to survive, in fact it is only going to make the plant’s job harder. It’s called soil water saturation and this leads to root rot. And more wilting.

If there is adequate soil moisture, the appropriate action is to take a deep breath and allow the plant to recover on its own in the evening. A thick layer of mulch will help the soil temperature stay cool during heat spells and this in turn will keep the plant healthier

This is particularly true of container plants. Always finger-test the soil here before you water, particularly if you see wilting and during periods of high heat.

Overwatering creates root rots and wilting isn’t always a sign of a lack of water in the soil

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