Don't stay long in that Texas sun! And not much hope of rain here to end the drought, either.
Don't stay long in that Texas sun! And not much hope of rain here to end the drought, either.
We installed drip irrigation yesterday because all of our gardens are containers or raised beds and I was having to water twice a day.
Yup, summer's arrived early! Thankfully, we've had enough rain frequently enough that I've not had to water too often. I have a water meter that indicates the amount of moisture in the soil and so far, I've only had to water my veggies about once a week if we don't get rain.
Once a week sounds lovely...wish I could do that! I've heard talk about La Nina switching to El Nino. But not so sure that is going to happen. In San Antonio they are supposed to see triple digits for the next three days.
We should be at our third day at 100+ degrees here in San Marcos. We are way behind in rain so everything is dying. I have only had 4.75 inches for the year at my orchard outside town and my water supply has gone dry. We normally have around 16 inches by this time of the year. I am driving a truck with a water tank out there every other day just to keep the trees alive, just barely. Luckily I have found a good source for mulch and will be putting 4 inches of it in a 4 foot radius around each tree. The worst is working out there in the hottest part of the day. I am tan but my skins still burns if I dont use sunblock every 45 minutes. My dogs refuse to travel with me anymore. HA!
Please tell me about your drip system that you installed. We have professionally installed sprinkler system but I'm tired of wasting water and it just doesn't do the job in the raised beds. I am trying to find information on retrofitting existing sprinkler risers to make drip system. Have had 3 professionals look at it and all they want to install is Netafim drip lines that would water everything exactly the same all the way around the house. That is just not acceptable.
Well on our drip irrigation system we got adjustable drippers. You can open them to do 4 gallons per hour or close them down doing one gallon an hour, I think. So that different plants get different amounts during the same amount of time. We got three different timers and they are on three systems. There are lots of internet sites about drip irrigation. We do use the sprinkler system to water the lawn and some of the raised beds.
my blog in Chronicle
Holy Heat & High Maintenance
I am leaving for a month mid July and I admit I'm very worried about what will survive.
It got to 108 a few days ago. I think my city is #1 in high record!! It was 105+ for a few days in a row.
I'm hoping my plants will survive the hot summer and we aren't even in the hottest month yet! Ouch:(
Are you having someone look in on the place?
I used timers on the real torchy spots when I left the garden for a couple weeks during that horrible heat wave about 5 years ago. It worked out pretty good..but a month...hope you have someone to peak in at least once a week.
I got my water bill yesterday and it's almost as much as the electric bill. Yikes! I have a sprinkler system, but am still having to do supplemental watering in somes areas. This spring we had the yard levelled and some new turf added in one area. I'm having to run a rotating sprinkler in addition to the system in order for that to get enough water without having so much wasted. Some of my beds aren't doing too well with the sprinkler system either. The beds are all so densely planted that the sprinkler heads are getting blocked by foliage, so the whole bed doesn't get water. Does anyone else have that problem and how do you fix it without cutting down plants near the sprinkler head itself? There's no rain in the forecast for the next couple of weeks, so I guess I better get used to those high water bills. I'm ready to move to cooler climes!
The person I live with will try to keep the watering up, but he works about 12 hours a day in town. We have a timed sprinkler system and I'm putting timers on all my drip irrigations. He will just have to check a couple of times a week for depth of water and correct, if necessary.
In the end, it's my hobby and hardly fair I ask some one else to be responsible. He is willing but very nervous. My reasoning is that if something dies, it dies. I did put off getting a plant I really want from Caldwell's until I get back. lol
The only reason I go to Sweden every year is that my daughter and grandkids live there. Sweden is beautiful and they live in northern Sweden, not far from Lapland. It's my month in the mountains. I am from Idaho and do miss the mountains.
Similar problem. Sprinkler system and too many plants..........common problem for us gardeners. The biggest problem is that sprinkler companies always put in the system the easiest way and not give much thought to landscaping. Run it alongside the outside walls or fence, etc. versus landscaping considerations and future trees.
The other problem is how deep they trench and bury the lines. Mine are down 12 inches or more under clay and rock. City codes usually specifies below permafrost line - for a lot us in the south that could be on top of the ground. LOL
The only thing to do is raise the heads, or run some offshoot sprinklers with flexible hose from another sprinkler, or tap into the feeder line. I just run the sprinklers and then use an area hose sprinkler for the hot spots.
Yep..me too...better go turn it off as a matter of fact!
With the triple digits high temps and no rain, the weather people are talking about possible Stage 3 water restrictions in the San Antonio area next week. But probably no more triple digits for a while after today there. Being in the hills, we're slightly cooler than S.A., so I'm glad of that at least. But it still bakes those poor plants, especially in the sunny areas.
When I drive out to my orchard, all of the corn fields failed along the way. It is so sad. Millions on millions of food lost. I am also very careful where I drive my truck because I afraid that the tall grass will catch fire from my tailpipe. Right now we have to truck water to the orchard in tanks to keep the trees alive. I am hunkered in and will not give up on my trees. It has been almost two years of drought here near San Marcos so I figure it has to let up soon. The Texas Farmers Almanac says June and July will be hot and dry, August will be normal and September and October will be wetter than normal. I am going by that.
Good luck on your orchard. It sounds like your trees are lucky cause they have you to look after them. You should also be drinking lots of water, too.
I have to say there is a fierce heat here in Texas.
My husband and I moved here from California about 4 years ago and discovered our normal gardening techniques would just not be enough for plants to survive. After numerous croaking plants......and outrageous water bills, we changed a few things.
We bought one of those tumbler devices that can make compost in about two weeks.......it does take more time if you want it really fine, but sometimes we're just not picky. Right before we are going to use it we add a huge amount of Peat Moss to it. We call it our "Com-peat mix". This goes on all the beds and even the lawn when we top dress it in spring.
Then we started using those crystals they sell at Lowe's that absorb water and puff up. We soak those in water and after they absorb all the water they can, we put those in the ground around the roots of plants. I wish we had known about them when we put in the lawn.
Then, of course, we mulch like crazy. And we use pine mulch to help cut the alkalinity in the soil here in Hill Country.
While we still water more than we did in California......it is not as much with the addition of peat and the crystals.
If there are more "secrets" to beating this heat here, I am all ears. I love to try new techniques.....and am thrilled when some work really well.
As far as potted plants, a friend of mind puts hers into larges piles of mulch...pots covered in the mulch, plant sticking out, all in fairly shady spots this time of year. I've only used those water-retaining products in potted plants. And I've always heard that peat moss should be worked into the soil, since otherwise it can draw moisture back out of the soil. And some of those mulches with the very large pieces...I wonder, don't they kind of block the water to some degree? I definitely want the water draining easily through the mulch into the soil. Use drought-hardy xeriscape plants whenever possible, especially native plants. There are native plants out on my property that have never been watered except by rain and they are alive after these last two years.
I'll gladly take the two normal months and then a wetter month! But first the plants have to survive this month.
Hi Linda,....we're singin' the blues over here in Willis area too! Past 2 days has been just over 100 degrees ....I'm moving all my exposed plants to shaded areas......some of my "lily-type" varieties are getting' sunburned...everything's suffering
Heat - I'm spreading 2 1/2 yards of mulch this afternoon......................yeah, kind of crazy to do that, but no other time to do it! Gatorade and I are great friends with some fresh mint.
morganc - good luck with those plants. Start focusing on the natives and you'll be a lot happier in the long run, although I can understand the weakness for a tropical look and certain summer flowering species.
Lowering pH in a few paragraphs!
Researched how to lower pH for my ferns, and using pine mulch according to the material, said it has little to no effect according to the experts. You have to live with the type of soil in your area which is alkaline and select plants accordingly. The alkalinity in the Edwards limestone aquifer water likely offsets the benefit of pine mulch. Pine bark mulch breaks down and the acidity is dissipated quickly.
One way to slightly lower pH is to select a fertilizer that is labeled acidizing to the soil. Peat moss is the best way as it has about a 3-4 pH, but I agree it can have a drying effect if not worked into the soil. Experiment: Take some peat, soak it, compress it and let it dry. It's like a brick. Try watering it and you'll observe how difficult it is to reabsorb water once dry without submerging it. So imagine too much peat in your soil, and what happens if you don't get moisture!
The first thing I do with any nursery plants before planting is to swish them in a bucket of water to remove excess peat. I find that most of my plants that die early or do poorly, are due to the peat ball drying out in the heat.
Azaleas and the myriad other acid loving plants are on the wrong side of the pH track and most won't do well in the hill country. Local hardwood and cedar mulches are you're best bets. Houston area is naturally acidic for example and the azaleas and the pine trees work well together.
We heard Peat Moss is good at RETAINING moisture......and it does seem to be working. We do work it in somewhat.....but not the lawn......there it's just thrown on with the compost. Probably works better worked it.
We agree with you on those big chunk mulch.....hate those......Lowes has some Pine mulch that is much smaller that allows water to go through fast. We love this kind. When we were using the texas hardwood one(don't know the name) It would get so compressed that no water could get through. Then it would turn grey quickly. This one stays a lovely brown for months and months....so when we mulch another area later you can hardly tell where one stopped and another started.
I'm glad you mentioned the crystals..I forgot I have a whole jug of them in the garage...going to have to disperse some of them to the potted plants.
I'm tempted to buy my own wood chipper and send the mulch through it...!~
You sound like my husband Chuck.......100 degree heat to spread mulch.....no problem, he's got some Gatorade!
I hope I didn't give the impression we were using the same type plants that we grew in California.......we DO love the tropical look, but most of those are in pots on the patio. When something is planted in a flower bed....I want it to stay there, do well, and come back the next year bigger and better. So yeah, we have tons of native plants and wildflowers. Heck we even started admiring the weeds here for being so tenacious. The palms we do have around the pool actually are quite hardy here and can take the heat as well as the cold.
We've even started laughing at plant instructions when they say...."Full Sun"...........like that would work here!
LOL...I know...I've blogged about that in fact...Full Sun...full sun where? Seattle or Texas...Nothing much likes full summer sun here..even my Papayas want a 1/2 day shade
Sorry, the thread is so long, I just sort of skipped around. Again today DH put additional risers on the sprinkler system. They are way up in the air because of all the foliage. I have tried lots of hand watering but there is just too much space.
Has anyone ever tried making the sprinkler system into a drip hose? Like taking the sprinkler head off and somehow attaching the drip hose to it? The grass area doesn't need watering as much as the plants, yet in order to water the plants, the grass gets it too.
Last time we had it overhauled it costs more than the original. Can't do that again. This will have to be DIY. Surely one of our resident engineers has figured it out.
With all this heat, Got Butterflies?!
This message was edited Jun 17, 2009 7:11 PM
We've got Plano Pure Products up here in North Dallas, a consortium of 4-5 cities. They do their own recycling of various yard and tree refuse into mulch, compost, and top dressings for city reuse. Amazing to see how much they recycle. Today at 1 pm, there was a 30 foot tall mountain of shredded materials, and an even larger mountain of trash to be processed, with a waiting line to drop off more refuse. Quite an operation.
They resell it at cheap bulk prices. Plain mulch is $14/yard but does turn gray quickly. The colored mulches at $25/yard holds color for a long time. Very generous in their sales, so if you buy 2 yards, they give you almost 3 yards. They're just happy to get rid of it. The remote site operation covers 30-40 acres of composting mulch piles.
I've never had a problem with water seeping through these mulches, however, I have noticed the retail bag mulches are more finely ground and do compact. Regarding pine mulches, I've been told by pest control and house inspectors to avoid pine close to the house exterior as it's more attractive to termites. Not sure if that really holds true or makes a difference.
Granted, peat does retain moisture. In my experience, a three inch layer of mulch does a much better job of moisture retention at a cheaper price, and feeds the soil with organic humus, while peat does not break down. IMHO, mulch is the better choice. For lawns, try the top dressing to really see a difference in moisture retention and organic feed for lawns.
LOL - Full sun. What they don't tell you is in what zone full sun is recommended. Full sun up north is equivalent to about four hours in hot, dry Texas summers. I even think cactus wilts in the heat and full sun here.
LouC in DeSoto:
We are also in the process of muddling our way through trying to retrofit pop-up sprinkler risers to drip system. Wish we could have a total DG thread devoted to that subject, because I am finding it very discouraging knowing what and where to buy. Home Depot or Lowe's seems to have parts of systems but not everything needed and so time consuming finding what we need. Would really like to hear from others.
So far, the best thing I've found through internet research is RainBird has a retro "kit" that attaches to the pop-up sprinkler body. http://www.rainbird.com/drip/products/control/retrofit_kit.htm . I haven't gotten it yet but Ewing is supposed to be getting a couple for me. Our pop-up heads are not Rainbird brand but changing a couple of heads would be pretty cheap and then add the retro kit. I'm just putting screw-on caps on other risers - just in case we need to use them again in the future don't want anything glued.
Another RainBird product we like is their black tubing that contains resin and doesn't have tendency to kink and cut off water flow like the old poly tubing is prone to do. That's available at John Deere, we're told.
We tried one of the DIG 6-oulet adjustable emitter heads and they are just so hard to put all those little 1/4 tubing on and configure. But they do have those at Home Depot.
LouC in Desoto,
Since my post this morning, we were - again - out looking for drip system parts. Neither Ewing nor John Deere in south Arlington stock the RainBird retrofit kits but they said Ewing in Dallas (don't know location) has them. They're supposed to get me one by tomorrow just so I can see if it is actually what I want. If I had a dollar for every mile we've driven trying to locate all this stuff....
Home Depot in Mansfield has a much bigger selection and more brands of drip products than our HD in Cleburne does. HD Mansfield is the only place I've found the DIG Adjustable Drippers, adjustable from 0 to 10 gallons per hour. My plan at the present time is to install those in 1/2" Tubing and connected at a converted pop-up riser.
The professional supply houses recommend Netafim drip line but I want something that I can adjust and control the amount of water that each emitter puts out and that isn't possible with it. I've asked the supply houses if any other brand besides RainBird has a retrofit kit and they have said not yet.
We were in San Antonio today for a medical test and a dental cleaning. 104°!!! Just now the weather guy said they've had 12 days of triple digits in June so far and it has set 4 new record highs. Before we left town for the boonies I felt slightly nauseated and poor DH was turning kind of red in his face. He has way too many medical problems to tolerate this stuff. I figure if June is this bad, what will July be like? Not sure I want to know!
I just used the adjustable emitters on 1/4 inch line. It seems to work for me, but I'm a newbie at drip irrigation.
now I know why there are winter homes and summer homes...
At least for Houston I think July will be more normal ...I hope...It's usually very rainy in July..and what's that?...dark clouds forming outside the window!
glad they are forming your way Randy--we ain't had a drop since mid-April out this way.
I have an ex-pat friend living in the mtns of Costa Rica--she says night-time lows of 55 and daytime highs of 82 year round--trout in her stream--starting to sound real good about now.
aah..matter of fact the temperature has just dropped 101F to 92F degrees in 5 minutes....halelejia..we may get wet stuff soon