Water and mulch are the two most important ingredients for a lush, healthy landscape. Faithful watering and mulching of newly planted trees, shrubs, and flowers will promote growth and vigor and give them an excellent start in your yard.
Just imagine how hot and thirsty you get when you’re outside on a scorching August day. Now, imagine that your feet are planted in one spot, you cannot move into the shade, and do not have the option of going indoors to cool off with a glass of water and a blast of air conditioning. This may give you a better understanding of the plight of plants during an Oklahoma summer. They are dependent on you to give them some much-needed moisture, especially during periods of drought. Either lack of water or too much water can do significant damage to plants, and may eventually kill them. The ultimate goal is to keep the soil slightly moist—not dry and dusty or wet and soupy. Understanding the following factors will be of great help in achieving the goal.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE WEATHER
This one sounds silly, but it is so important. During the very hot, dry summers, plants need lots of supplemental watering. Wilting leaves and droopy-looking plants are thirsty. Just think about how you’d feel being out in that weather all day without a drink! On the other hand, when rainfall is frequent, plants probably are getting all the water they need. Too much water when the weather is cool and moist can actually rot the roots.
KNOW YOUR SOIL TYPE
All soil is composed of either sand, silt (loam), or clay—and usually some combination of all three elements. In Tulsa, most areas south of 51st St. have clay soil and areas north of 51st St. have fairly good loamy soil. Clay soil has very tiny spaces between each particle, which means water moves through the soil very slowly. Clay holds water for a longer time than either loam or sand, so it does not need to be watered quite as frequently. Be careful not to water so heavily that you regularly have standing water around plants. Very few plants will tolerate standing water or excessive moisture.
Loamy soil has a looser texture than clay, which allows for easier water movement through the soil. It will probably need more frequent water replenishment. Most importantly, keep an eye on the appearance and texture of your soil. Very dry soil, as well as very wet soil will be obvious by appearance.