Although we had a very mild, but dry, winter, we’re continuing to experience very warm temperatures and drought conditions, which are proving to be very hard on our landscape plants. Although we can resume irrigating our plants, especially our lawns, two times per week now, per St. Johns Water Management District regulations, many plants appear stressed and don’t look so good. This is especially true for newly planted plants. Hopefully, if this pertains to you, you’ve been providing additional water via use of hand watering with a hose. Because we’ve been dry for so long, operating our irrigation system just can’t provide enough water, especially new trees. Recently when I added some new plants to my landscape, I was shocked and surprised at how dry our soil really is. When I dug down 6”, it was like digging in powder, and since then, I’ve had to hand water some plants almost every day. How many of you check your plants at least 2-3 times (or more) per week and hand water as needed? You all should and your plants will really appreciate it.
I’ve found using the “pencil test” an easy way to see if my plants need water. I push a pencil 3-4” in the soil near the base of the plant. If when I pull it out and find soil particles sticking to it, I hold off watering. If the pencil comes out clean, I water thoroughly. This method also works great for indoor/container plants.