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Best Watering Practices - Advice from a Master Gardener
Water at the base of the plant; avoid getting the leaves wet, if possible. Don’t splash soil on leaves. It can transfer diseases in the soil onto the plants.
Early morning is the best time to water. If the leaves do get wet, the plant will have all day for the water to evaporate.
The general rule of thumb for established plants is one inch of water per week. Less frequent but deep watering encourages perennials to root more deeply and become better able to handle drought conditions.
For bushes or trees, water the area out to the dripline. Needled and broadleaf evergreens benefit from deep watering starting in September. The foliage is exposed to winter winds which pull out moisture. Make sure they have ample soil moisture with deep and slow watering in the fall, until the ground freezes.
Watering long, slow and deep, and less often is better than a small amount of water every day. Deep watering allows the critical root zone to take up adequate moisture. Keeping the soil consistently moist is essential to healthy trees.
A good start for new plantings.
When starting a new perennial, take the following steps: Dig a hole twice the size of the plant. Work organic soil into your existing soil and sprinkle the hole with a starter extended release fertilizer. Fill the hole and water very well for at least several days until the plant is established.
When planting annuals, either in the ground or in a container, do the same thing with the exception of taking off several inches of the soil in the pot from the previous year and adding new organic potting soil.
The case of the mystery mulberrytree
Leaves of Morus alba.
Judy Tajak found a mysterious plant in her garden and submitted a small sample for identification. The sample included a small woody stem with leaves attached. Mystery solved. This garden interloper appears to be the beginning of a small mulberry tree (genus Morus). So, is this plant a welcome guest or a threat? Although there are many species of mulberry, two common ones are red mulberry (Morus ruba) and white mulberry (Morus alba). The red mulberry is a native plant and never common. It’s rarely found away from the shade of mature moist woods. The white mulberry is a prolific fruit producer and aggressively colonizes open, sunny sites. It can be found in many urban settings, fence rows and abandoned fields. The white mulberry, a native of China, was first introduced to North America in the 1800s when colonists were attempting to produce silk. The white mulberry leaf is the main food source of the silk worm. The leaves of either tree are variable in shape: unlobed, 2-lobed, 3-lobed or multiple lobed. To complicate matters, leaf form can change as the tree matures. You can usually tell them apart by putting the edge of a leaf in your mouth. The red mulberry is fuzzy underneath while the underside of the white mulberry is smooth. Since definitive identification of type of mulberry tree is no easy matter, it may be better left to an arborist.