Planting out during a dry spring and summer.
Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012 10:39 am
This is going to be a difficult year with a hose pipe ban already in place, but, with care, plants can be established well using a restricted amount of water.
Drought resistant plants help but they still need nurturing for the first few weeks whilst they establish a good root system. A local nursery or garden centre should be able to give advice on plants which are able to cope with less water and do well in local conditions.
Berkshire has a variety of different soils from clays to the acidic Bagshott sands and if you choose plants which are suited to the soil and position they will cope with stress much better than less ideally suited plants. So get good local advice if you are not sure.
If you follow our planting tips for dry conditions you should have no losses and get great results. Water buts will help but need rain and only hold a limited amount of water so the following should help you use it well.
Get the plant roots wet before planting out, 10 – 20 minutes in a bucket of water should be ample.
Plant your new plants in a slight depression so as to avoid water running away from the plant and maybe put in a pipe with holes in it down the side of the root ball to get the water straight down to the roots.
Water underground will have a more beneficial effect being in the root system and not evaporating from the surface. With larger plants I fill the hole half way and then put another can of water in filling completely. Leave a surface of loose mulch to reduce evaporation.
Plenty of compost mixed with the soil removed will always help on any type of soil and water retentive gel will further reduce the frequency of watering required.
No plant should need watering every day, better to give a good soak when the soil is beginning to dry out which could be every two or three days in dry weather at first but make them spread roots out by reducing the frequency steadily as long as the plant does not look stressed.
I would establish plants this way if planting in spring and summer regardless of the water shortage. Putting on too much water with sprinkler systems and hoses will result in very poor root systems and wash nutrients out of the soil. In a heavy soil plants may well die if too wet. If you do put in an irrigation system use drips or soakahose to put the water on slowly right where it is needed, check that these are still allowed in your area and use a system with a timer.
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