Gardentalk – Don’t let your trees, plants, and veggies wilt and die of thirst

An artichoke seedling gets some water in a North Douglas garden in May 2020. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

Living in Southeast Alaska’s rainforest, it’s sometimes easy to forget when rainfall levels may be low. But even with the recent rainfall, this season could still shape up as similar to last summer’s dry conditions.

Master Gardener Ed Buyarski suggests gardeners continue checking the moisture levels of their trees, plants, and vegetables to make sure they get the water they need. He’s noticing that his primroses are wilting at the end of each day.

“If Mother Nature doesn’t provide, I guess we need to,” Buyarski said. “Or, we let the weaker ones get weeded out from the herd.”

How do you know if your plants need more water? Buyarski said it’s as simple as poking your finger down into the soil.

In pots or other containers, for example, dry soil may also pull away from the edges and start to crumble. Buyarski recommends spreading it out before watering or watering again to thoroughly moisturize the soil.

Constantly thirsty plants, like tomatoes, will noticeably wilt when they are not getting enough water.

You can water just about anytime of day, even during the height of the sun. But be careful about watering too late in the evening when little evaporation and cool temperatures can prompt fungus growth.

Buyarski also suggests looping soaker hoses around the drip line of trees and large bushes so their roots get adequate moisture.

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