Watering southeastern landscapes

R. L. Rhodes
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When it comes to lawns and landscapes, the humid summers in the Southeast can all-too-easily lull is into a false sense of security. Plants still need a ready supply of water, especially in months when the interval between rains drags on. To make sure you’re getting the most from your watering routine, keep a close eye out for signs of distress in your plants, and use the following tips to keep them satiated.

  • Running through the southeast region is a belt of land known to agriculturists as the “transition zone.” Here, lawns can grow both cool- and warm-season grasses with roughly equal success. Knowing which types of grass are growing in your yard will help you know what to expect from your irrigation routine—for example, cool-season grasses are mostly dormant during the peak of summer, so extra-heavy watering is unlikely to promote new growth right now.
  • To make sure your plants have ample time to absorb the water before evaporation sets in, plan on watering your lawn or landscape at night or at dawn.
  • A healthy layer of mulch can help keep moisture close to the soil, while keeping roots cool during the peak of summer heat.
  • The Shumard oak (Quercus shumardii) and bald cyprus (Taxodium distichum) are two drought resistant trees native to Southeastern landscapes; for shrubs, try the Eastern spice shrub (Calycanthus fertilis) or summersweet shrub (Clethra alnifolia).

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