It’s watering time again — Summer weather has returned, hot and dry. At least we haven’t had to deal with it all summer. Here’s some advice from Ward Upham of K-State for watering fruit plants – which can apply to other plants too – and for newly planted trees and shrubs.
Strawberries have a shallow root system and may need to be watered more often – maybe twice a week when temperatures are high. Newly planted fruit trees on sandy soils may also need water twice a week.
“Deep, infrequent watering and mulching can help trees become established. Newly transplanted trees need at least 10 gallons of water per week, and on sandy soils they will need that much applied twice a week. The secret is getting that water to soak deeply into the soil, so it evaporates more slowly and is available to the tree’s roots longer. One way to do this is to punch a small hole in the side of a 5-gallon bucket and fill it with water. Let the water dribble out slowly next to the tree. Refill the bucket once, and you have applied 10 gallons. Very large transplanted trees and trees that were transplanted two to three years ago will require more water.
“A perforated soaker hose is a great way to water a newly established bed or foundation planting. In sun-baked soil, you may need to rough up the surface with a hoe or tiller to get water to infiltrate easily. It may be helpful to set the kitchen oven timer, so you remember to move the hose or shut off the faucet. If you are seeing surface runoff, reduce the flow, or build a berm with at least a 4-foot diameter around the base of the tree to allow the water to percolate down through the soil, instead of spreading out.
“Regardless of method used, soil should be wet at least 12 inches deep.”
“Chemical control of blister beetles is also possible,” Upham writes in the Horticulture 2014 newsletter. Cyfluthrin or gamma- or lambda-cyhalothrin can be used. Cyfluthrin has no waiting period, while lambda-cyhalothrin has a five-day waiting period on tomatoes, he says.