by Texas Homesteader ~
When the weather turns hot & dry it can be hard on your plants and trees. Especially trying to keep them properly watered. Here in NE Texas we’ve actually slipped once again into a severe drought. So I’m employing many efforts to keep my plants and trees healthy.
Drought Is Hard On Plants & Trees
It’s hard to keep plants and trees healthy when the weather turns hot and dry. Especially if the challenging weather extends into an actual drought.
For me the secrets of keeping plants healthy during drought are:
- Water deeply. It’s better to get that water deep to the plant’s roots. Frequent but shallow watering keeps the roots shallow. But less frequent yet deeper watering helps those roots grow deeper and helps keep the plant more resilient.
- Water in the morning. If you’re watering plants, it’s best to water them in the relative cool of the morning. That way all the water doesn’t just evaporate right away. Plus there’s less chance of water drops burning the leaves in the full sun and the plant leaves get the chance to fully dry before nightfall.
- Cover the soil. The sun beating down on soil around plants and trees will sure dry it up in a hurry. Be sure to shade the soil with mulch.
You can even use living mulch in your garden by using plants that naturally grow along the ground. Vining plants not only cover the soil but provide food too such as cantaloupe or pumpkin!
- Hold back on the fertilizer. Fertilizer is meant to promote fast growth. But by withholding it during drought you’ll allow the plant to conserve its strength. Your plant will still grow, just at a slower pace.
- Be vigilent with weeding chores. Those weeds are stealing moisture and nutrients from your plants! So during drought it’s doubly important to stay on top of your garden weeding.
- Help Conserve Plant’s Energy. During drought is not a good time to let your flowers spend their energy making seeds. So dead head those flowers as soon as the blooms are spent to save the plant’s energy for staying healthy.
Slow Watering Tip
For my vegetable garden, drought means I’m employing my secret weapon for preserving moisture and slow-soaking water to my plants.
A Repurposed Coffee Can helps me conserve moisture and make watering plants more effective.
You see, I use these empty coffee cans to help me Deep-soak Water Plants in my garden. How?
Well I punch holes in the coffee can bottom (or the lids). Then I can add fertilizer and/or water in those cans.
The water drips more slowly into the ground, and right at the plant’s roots too.
It saves water from my Rainwater Catchment Systems being wasted. That’s because water is focused directly where it’s needed.
How Do You Keep Potted Plants Watered?
What about your potted plants? Is there a way to slow water them too? Well yes there is!
I use repurposed plastic bottles that have a wide mouth. I have RancherMan drill small holes in that wide lid.
Then I fill the jar with water, screw on the lid with holes and turn it upside down next to the stem of the plant. The wide lid helps keep the jar balanced.
Bubbles immediately appear letting me know water is being slowly and deliberately delivered right to the plant’s roots.
How To Keep Trees Watered During Drought
What about keeping a tree watered since a tree needs more water than can be held in a small coffee can?
For trees you can incorporate the same idea, only using a larger bucket.
Drilling Holes In A Bucket For Slow Watering Trees
I like to drill holes in the lid instead of the actual bucket. That way I can put the lid on a bucket filled with water and turn it upside down next to the tree trunk and let the water drip out slowly.
Since the bucket itself doesn’t have holes in it I can still use it to haul water.
Watering A Tree During Longer Absence
Once we were going to be away for awhile and I worried about a newly-planted fruit tree. The 5-gallon bucket idea would not be enough watering for a week’s absence.
So RancherMan suggested we take our 100-gallon water trough, set it on the forks of the tractor and then fill it with water.
Then he drove the water-filled trough to the tree and gently sat it down right next to it. Finally we unscrewed the plug just enough to allow the water to drip slowly.
Over the course of the next several days that we were away that slow drip kept the tree watered.
Although it continued being extra hot and dry while we were away, my pear tree remained happily watered. When we returned home I was delighted to see the little tree had fared just fine!
We continued using this watering method until the drought broke to make sure my tiny tree stayed healthy. I just unscrewed the plug to allow it to drip for a few days as needed, then tightened the plug to stop the water for a few days. #UseWhatchaGot!
My Favorite Garden Hacks
- Easy Garden Planning Spreadsheet
- Getting A Jump: Planting An Indoor Greenhouse
- Repurposed Cardboard Seed-Starting Pots
- 3-Sister’s Garden – The Original Companion Planting
- Planting A Large Galvanized Trough
- Tricking Birds AWAY From Your Strawberry Plants
- Easy Compost For A Healthy Garden
- Propping Tender Seedlings
- Cheap (or FREE) Wood Mulch For The Garden
- Using Vining Plants For Living Mulch
- Homestead Hack: Remember Where You Planted Seeds
- Keeping Potted Plants Watered
- Planting A Blueberry Bush In Galvanized Tub
- Stevia – Growing Your Own Sweetener!
- How I Use EcoBricks In The Garden
- Repurposing A Coffee Can For Deep-Soak Watering
- How Leaves Benefit Your Garden
- My Simple, Zero-Waste Herb Drying Setup
- The Lazy Gardener’s Plant List – Plant Once, Eat For Years!
- How To Tell When Watermelon Is Ripe
- Luffa A Surprising Zucchini Substitute!
- How To Make Your Own Garden Soil
- Easy Homemade Seed Tape
MORE Gardening Posts
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This is a powerful post, I love tree, they build so many homes here, that I feel for the tree, wish they can create a wood that is just for building and not use so many tree. and thanks for sharing this on Dream Create and Inspire.
Smart idea to water plants far from a water source. We’re dealing with a severe drought in SoCal and many of our plants have died. I’m trying a new product to help move water into the dry hard ground.
I might suggest that you put a large piece of plywood or something to completely cover the top of the tank to help keep it from evaporating when the sun beats down on it. By covering will also keep the mosquitos out of the standing water.
Good idea. We have filled five gallon plastic buckets with water and nailed a little hole in the bottom for saplings in the summer but that would not last for days like your water trough.