Now is the time to Focus on Watering Strategies
Watering takes on greater importance during very hot, humid weather, so you may need to increase your watering if you notice your plants wilting. Water deeply and thoroughly early in the day, up to 1 inch at a time.
Check out Watering 101 on the Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener YouTube Channel!
Watering strategies during the warm drier months include:
- Water roots, never foliage, which can singe leaves in peak heat and contribute to fungal diseases.
- Water more, but less often, since it is best to saturate the soil after it dries, instead of lightly watering the surface daily, which will encourage roots to grow toward the surface in search of moisture instead of reaching deeper down.
- Water in daylight hours (morning, afternoon or early evening).
- Weed regularly since weeds will use up available water.
- Mulch between rows, or plant some crops in covered rows, to control soil temperatures and retain moisture levels.
In general, signs of both too much or too little water include yellowing of the leaves, droopy plants and stunted growth.
Recommended practices for optimal watering include:
- Water seedlings with an even, gentle spray that neither batters nor floods them and provide more water than simply a fine misting.
- Allow seedlings to dry out between watering without letting plants get too dry. Your soil should not stay wet continuously.
- Water deeply and thoroughly to promote healthy root growth and to drain out any salt build up.
- Check the moisture of your soil beneath the surface since the surface of the soil can appear moist but still be dry beneath.
- Break up any soil crusting that may occur, which is generally prevented through thorough watering.