July can be an indifferent month in the UK, at the time of writing we are experiencing a period of unprecedented hot weather, the lack of rain and effects of the sun can have a detrimental impact on your garden.
Watering plants and grass is an obvious must when the weather gets hot, however, avoid watering your plants or lawn in the daytime as the sun will quickly evaporate the water making daytime watering a fruitless and ultimately pointless pursuit.
Many people believe watering in the evening is the best way to go in fact this too can have a detrimental effect on your garden evening watering will allow moisture to cling to the grass and plants overnight which in turn creates the perfect conditions to promote fungal growth.
So when should I water?
When it comes to watering early morning is the way to go between the hours of 5:00 am and 10:00 am, this will ensure you avoid the reckless pursuit of daytime watering, the grass will get the full benefit before the sun reaches its peak. Furthermore, the sun will evaporate the moisture on the lawn well before nightfall ensuring there is no opportunity for fungal growth to set in.
How often should I water my lawn?
This is dependent on a couple of variables such as soil type, clay soils retain moisture, therefore, watering once or twice a week should be adequate when dealing with sandy soils aim for three times a week.
How long should I water for?
Again this is dependent on how dry the soil is, however, it is better to water deeply than to water for 10 minutes every day this is because deep watering promotes deep root growth which will ultimately lead to a healthier lawn.
An excellent way to check if water has penetrated the lawn to the desired depth (roughly six inches is to lift a sod of turf every 15 minutes throughout the first watering)
Once you have the desired water penetration, it is best practice to water your lawn for the same period every time, be thorough and set a timer this way your lawn will receive the correct amount of water on each occasion.
Use a good quality pulsating sprinkler as they provide more accurate water distribution than the oscillating variety.
What about plants?
Apply the same principles to border plants; again it is better to water infrequently and deeply than to water regularly this action will promote a healthy root system for your shrubs and plants.
Like lawns watering plants and shrubs between 5:00 am and 10:00 am is the way to go.
Well established shrubs and plants will naturally need less water as their root systems are well established.