The temperature has fallen into the unknown (variations between 32 and 65 degrees). How do we water our gardens as the temperatures fluctuate and the rain in not predictable. Temperatures can’t be controlled but being diligent and considerate to our gardens and their plants needs (talking about water) have to be a priority.
I know this is not an easy topic, yet it has to be considered. The perennials in our gardens are shutting down and how much water they need as they are storing energy for the winter is a good question. So how much water do they need and will the natural environment supply an adequate supply? The first thing we must ask is what types of perennials, then we have to consider when they flowered last, what kind of root system they have and to store energy for the winter what is the process by which the plants store energy. I think as usual I need to keep things simple and user friendly. So I will apply logic and common sense so that a general rule can be applied.
Plants need water to maintain a number of functions. Transporting foods, sustaining foliage and supporting a cycle of new roots developing as older roots die back. The balance between all these elements is critical to longevity. Trees, woody ornamentals an perennials all share the common theme “whatever I can’t sustain I will stop supporting so as to survive.” Most people don’t look close enough, at plants, to notice this event and or, if they do notice, they don’t understand what is occurring. People usually assume, that plant is dyeing. The reality is, much of the leaves are not needed in the short run and a tree can sacrifice dropping a large percentage of their foliage to survive through extreme weather fluctuations (drought, heat, flooding). AMAZINGLY, most plants can push out new sets of leaves as climactic conditions become more favorable. Now that I have put this out there how do we water through weather changes.
The common sense answer is, leaves still on plants, demonstrating droopy sad foliage need some water. The weather has been unusually beautiful but hasn’t rained in a couple weeks means it is time to water (as if it is the middle of summer). In the fall, this type of watering may only be necessary every 10 days. Different plants and gardens will need different approaches, but generally you supply enough water to help the plants natural processes continue stress free. You can’t over water when watering every 10 days. Just be conservative and know, the watering during this time of year is just a supplement and will not be a consistent occurrence (nature will manage most of the needs). IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER IN A MAN MADE ENVIRONMENT, MAN NEEDS TO BE A PART OF THE PROCESS.
Enjoy the rest of 2010’s Autumn season. Countdown to thanksgiving in the United States… Gobble Gobble Gobble.