Friday, September 21, 2012

Watering Lawns & Beds in Autumn

Not my house!

Several of my neighbors still have their irrigation systems on their summer watering schedule.  For some of them, this means every morning.  Now that temperatures have changed, should the irrigation timing change as well?  In a word, yes.

We're accustomed to thinking of spring as a transition time.  We gradually move our houseplants outdoors and we give our seedlings a little more time in the sun each day in order to "harden them off."  We increase our watering as the temperatures rise.

Autumn is a transition time as well.  As the temperatures get consistently lower and we, thankfully, have more rain, our plants need for supplemental water lessens.  In addition, we need to prepare the plants for winter by doing a fall "hardening off."  We want to discourage new growth that may be damaged by sudden drops in temperature.  Do this by watering sparingly in the early autumn.  This provides the plants with another cue to go dormant.

In our part of the South, we continue to get an adequate amount of rainfall in the winter and we don't experience many hard freezes.   The rainfall usually provides the watering we need and most of us even turn off and winterize our irrigation systems.  Depending on the rainfall this winter, you may want to take advantage of a warm(er) winter day to get your hoses out and give everything a good deep drink of water.  And if a hard freeze is forecast, a good watering beforehand will protect the roots of your plants.

I've turned off my irrigation timer.  I send it through a manual cycle if we go for a week without rain.  In a few weeks, I'll get it winterized for the season.  And I guess I'd better start thinking about bringing my houseplants indoors.  Dang!  They're so much easier to water when they're outside!

A summer outside does wonders!

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