Deficient water supply during a dry season causes stress to your landscape plants and greenery. It’s important to know the proper way to care for outdoor plants so that they remain healthy and appealing during periods of drought.
- Leaves begin yellowing, drying, and falling off the plant.
- Branches begin to die back, meaning they start dying from the tip of the branch inward.
- With prolonged drought, the roots of the plant can become damaged and the plant will eventually die.
Avoid Over Watering
It’s tempting to give drought stressed plants as much water as they can handle, however it is possible to over water and drowned the plant. When over watering occurs, the roots of the plant become suffocated by the lack of oxygen getting to the roots. Gradually and consistently water your plants, keeping the soil moist but not wet.
DO NOT fertilize during a drought. Without enough water, the fertilizer will either be wasted or cause more damage to your plants. As soon as the dry spell is over and good rainfall is in the forecast, apply a slow release fertilizer to help the plant recover.
After plants have been well watered, make sure there is 3-4 inches of mulch covering the ground around your plants. This helps keep the soil shaded and cool, while holding in moisture. Mulch also helps with keeping out weeds that can rob water from the plant. Mulch will decompose over the season and by mid-summer you may need to add a few inches of new mulch to to the top of your plant bed.
During seasons of drought, it may be beneficial to lightly prune back plants so that they will have less need for water. Use your best judgement on which plants may need to be pruned based on the symptoms of lacking water. Plants need to have good foliage to avoid being scorched by the sun, so be careful not to cut off too much of the plant’s greenery. Remove any dead or dying branches.
Watch Out for Additional Problems
While it’s important to watch out for problems such as insects and disease throughout the whole season, special attention should be given during periods of drought. Plants that are stressed by drought are much more susceptible to pests and disease. In the event of an insect or disease problem, the plant may need to be pruned or completely removed.