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Watering is essential to the life and longevity of all plants, including the ones in your back garden. Water is vital when it comes to transporting nutrients and sugars from the soil to the plant itself, and with a water shortage or drought, a plant will likely suffer. Unfortunately, this can be fatal in some cases, or severely stunt the growth of flowers and plants. Gardens suffering from a prolonged drought period can be left vulnerable to pests, pathogens and disease. Here are ten hacks to keep your garden looking and feeling its most hydrated all year round.
Water in the morning or night
Choose the right time when it comes to watering, ideally in the early morning or late at night.
If you water in the middle of the morning or afternoon, the heat of the day will evaporate the water before it gets a chance to reach the root.
Water droplets on leaves also act as a magnifying glass, and if it’s a sunny day outside, the sun’s rays will scorch the plant even more.
Watch out for signs
Look closely for signs of dryness in your plants, especially those with soft leaves as they’ll be the first to be dehydrated.
The tip of the plant will bend and then the leaves will wilt and feel dry and crispy to the touch.
Don’t worry, though, as most plants are very resilient and can be saved with a good dose of water.
Care for the containers
Keep a special eye on plants growing in containers as they don’t have a deep soil base, meaning most will need watering every day during warmer months.
When you plant them, leave a 5cm gap between the soil and the container’s lip or it will overflow when you try to water it.
Hanging baskets need watering every day as well, but you can add hydration slices or crystals instead.
If you do, check the moisture levels by pushing your fingers into the soil up to knuckle depth, and if it feels dry you need to water it.
Immerse the basket in a bucket of water and leave until all the air bubbles stop forming.
Break the soil
Soil can often develop a hard crust when the weather is dry, meaning the water will just run off the top rather than absorbing.
Push a broom handle a few inches into the soil to create reservoirs around plants before you water them to ensure it’s doing the job.
Give plants a good soaking, doing so for at least 20 seconds.
Watering in small quantities and with long intervals won’t allow the water to soak into the soil properly, which is vital as it encourages the plant to send down deeper roots.
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Reuse and recycle
Reuse as much water as you can by recycling any water you’re using onto your lawn and flower beds.
Just don’t tip it out, as stagnant water will drown the roots and increases the likelihood of moss developing.
Keep containers and vegetable crops well watered with recycled plastic bottles.
Cut the bottom off and punch or drill holes in the lid, then half-bury the bottle into the soil near the plant roots, taking extra care not to damage them.
Fill with water and it will gradually soak into the soil right where the roots need it the most.
Set your hosepipe to shower
If you use a hosepipe to water your garden, set it to a wider nozzle which will distribute a gentle spray across the plants.
Fast, narrow jets of water can blast soil and damage the plant.
You should also keep the rose on your watering can for the same reasons.
Make a DIY irrigation system
If your hosepipe gets a hole in it, which it likely will at some point during its lifespan, punch more holes along the length and lay it on the soil around the plants.
This will create a makeshift irrigation system and ensure your plants are well hydrated all year round.
If you’re going on holiday and want to keep the plants watered, connect it to a timer so it’s now drowning the greenery.
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