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From wet weather to time to water

This has been such a strange growing season. We started out fantastic, and then got a little wet, and then a few hot days, then cool nights, and now, we are dry.

I heard a Miami Valley weatherman the other day say that we are down about 5 inches of rain for the year. I checked the site that I always use for weather data and we are down about 3 inches in this area. In addition, my garden has gone almost 20 days without rain so I guess it’s time.

The bottom line is that we are in a bit of a dry spell right now and if you haven’t received any of these spotty rains recently, you need to be watering certain plants.

I ended up dragging the hoses out to my vegetable garden this past week as many of my veggies are in need of moisture. I tilled the soil the other day to get ready for fall planting and the top 6 inches of soil was dry.

Vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and others need water in order to develop. A tomato is around 95 percent water and if the soil does not have sufficient moisture, the fruit won’t develop nicely.

In addition, since I planted lettuce and spinach for a fall crop, I have to water the seed bed or the seeds won’t germinate. Then, when they do germinate, I need to pay close attention that they don’t dry out.

Therefore, if you are starting a fall crop, pay close attention to watering until the plants are established.

Other plants that I have irrigated in the last few days include all of the trees and shrubs that I planted this spring. These have a fragile root system that is not established and needs to stay moist.

If the dry spell continues, I’ll have to water those plants that I put in the ground in the last few years as they aren’t yet established either.

If you do break down and have to water, remember the rule of thumb is to water thoroughly, less often. Give the plants a good soaking and you won’t have to water daily.

Late August and early September is also the time to start lawn repairs or renovations. If you have bare spots, you can either sod or use grass seed to fill in.

If you are going to renovate a lawn and you had planned on spraying glyphosate (e.g., Roundup) to kill the existing weeds and grass, you need to make sure that whatever you are spraying is green and growing in order to absorb the herbicide.

Speaking of spraying, wait until the cooler temperatures of fall return before you consider spaying any broadleaf weeds in the lawn. Weeds won’t absorb the herbicide when it’s this hot and dry.

Fall is an excellent time to spot treat broadleaf weeds in the lawn. The weeds are growing nicely and will absorb the herbicide so wait a few more weeks to address them.

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