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Greening Reminder: Water those gardens! (and other tips)

Hello Garden Court neighbors,

I'm sure you've noticed how dry the weather has been. According to the Inquirer we've had 1/4 of an inch of rain in the past 48 days. Along with the lack of rain we've had very dry air (not humid) which also draws water out of plants. Without a major change in the weather we will probably formally enter into drought conditions this week or next. Thankfully the temperature has remained generally pleasant and is still cool at night, which definitely helps reduce stress on plants in these dry conditions.

On that note, this is a reminder to WATER your gardens, shrubs, young trees, potted plants, and any moss you'd like to keep around. Perhaps you could also ask a neighbor if they'd like your help watering their garden as well.

Here's some watering advice while the weather remains cool (under 90):

  • Gardens and lawns - water one or two times a week with a hose on the shower setting.

  • Shrubs and young trees you've planted in the past three years - water one or two times a week by running the hose on low, placing it near the trunk or roots, and leaving it for an hour or so.

  • Moss - shower briefly with water once or twice a day.

  • Potted plants - water every other day. Herbs water as they look droopy, they usually like a bit of drought!

  • Rain gardens - fill up once a week.

  • Any plant that looks droopy or brown - water! Hydrangeas, black eyed susans, creeping phlox, and azaleas are looking pretty unhappy! Azaleas, rhododendrons, mountain laurels and other flowering shrubs had a hard spring last year and could use some extra watering love to set them up well for next year. Water like a tree or shrub for 15-30 minutes.

If the weather starts to get above 90, add another watering on those hot days to gardens, lawns, and potted plants.

Some extra tips:

  • Even if we do get a passing storm or two, it's important to keep up the good watering routing until we get a solid inch or two of rain all at once. (edit 6/6 4:22 pm I think I just willed this tiny thunderstorm into being with this post!)

  • Avoid watering the flowers of plants to keep from damaging them. Aim below the flowers at the roots and base of the plants.

  • Adding mulch around plants helps keep the moisture in the soil, but if adding mulch make sure to water extra well first. Adding mulch also reduces the amount of water required for the garden when watering by hose as you can focus just on plants and skip watering the spaces in between. If adding a wood mulch make sure to add a nitrogen fertilizer to your routine based on the package instructions.

  • Watering by hose or watering can reduces the amount of water required overall vs using a sprinkler.

  • Keep an eye on dead wood on your trees and be sure to prune it out.

  • Watering on the regular will benefit bees and butterflies, as wet leaves provide drinking water for our tiny flying companions.

For the future:

  • Planting native and drought tolerant plants will help your green spaces be more resilient and require less watering.

  • Planting street and or yard trees will grow to provide shade, which reduces heat stress and watering needs for plants (and trees are generally very awesome to have around providing cooling shade and beauty for people and habitats and food for birds).

  • Removing a grass lawn and swapping it for more drought tolerant garden plantings, or to a micro clover or other ground covering, or yard tree can save you watering in the long term and reduce mowing and maintenance needs.

Stay hydrated and stay safe. Here's hoping we get some much needed rain soon.


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