Watering Your Garden This Autumn
Despite recent rain and snowfall the entire state of Colorado remains in some level of drought. KUNC's Gardener Tom Throgmorton says your plant can be affected. He offers these suggestions when it comes to watering your garden.
According to the weather service we’re almost five inches below our normal precipitation along the Front Range. The storm last weekend is the only moisture we’ve had in the past few months.
Above seasonal temperatures have drawn the moisture out of the ground. These days have been pleasant. If we don’t get any significant precipitation soon, plants will start to suffer. And we hope to get a lot of moisture in the mountains to replenish our reservoirs.
Prioritize your watering. Start with new plantings first. Perennials, shrubs and trees planted in the past few years are new. They're still adjusting to being transplanted. They have limited root systems. They’re the first plants I’d choose to water. Heavy mulch won’t hurt either.
Evergreen plants like pine, spruce, or euonymus are my next priority. One of these warm days give them some water. I like to use a frog-eye sprinkler. Set the water so it bubbles out. Let it run until the water puddles up on the surface. Let the water soak in. Repeat the trickle watering to force the moisture deep into the soil.
Don't forget the grass. It isn’t time to turn the sprinkler system back on but lawns need water, too. Newly sodded or seeded lawns have only surface roots. They need watered regularly throughout the first year. Established lawns will also benefit from winter watering. Use the same watering method of wetting an area, letting the water soak in and then repeating.
The best time to water is on a day when temperatures are above forty degrees. Set sprinklers during the warmest part of the day. This time of year the warm temperatures last only a few hours. Wait until the sun has warmed the soil in the morning. Turn the water off by late afternoon. Once the sun sets it gets chilly in a hurry.
Remember to drain your hoses. It’s frustrating to get ready to water on that warm day only to find the hose filled with ice. It takes a long time for that ice to melt even on a warm sunny day. Disconnect the hose. Work from one end to siphon the water out of the hose.
Watering in the late autumn gives plants the moisture they need to get through the coming winter. It will give them a jump start next spring.