Advice for watering plants in West Texas when it won’t rain

It’s been dreadfully dry so far this year, and no matter how well we irrigate we just can’t replace a rainfall. But some perennials are starting to emerge with new growth, and the ground is dry so they need some irrigation until we get some spring rains. Since water is such a precious resource, be efficient and careful with how it’s used. Good watering practices not only save water and money, but also promote deeper-rooted plants that are more drought tolerant and can survive summer heat. Plants that have deep roots have access to more water than shallow rooted plants, and will perform better and look more attractive when it gets hot and dry than plants that get watered too frequently.

A good general rule of thumb for watering plants is ‘deep but infrequent.’ This means to water thoroughly when needed so that water is pushed deep into the soil, but don’t water too often – wait until the plants really need more. For lawns, about one inch of water applied one day per week is adequate in the summer. In the cooler spring and fall, apply the one inch of water less often (every two or three weeks).

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