“For Plant’s Sake”—Pay Attention to the Rainfall

After all the rain we have had this Spring, it seems silly to ask people to keep track of the rainfall.

Every year I have to ask people, “If you drank a gallon of water last Sunday, but you did not drink any water for a week; would you be thirsty?” Almost everyone looks at me with an amazed look and answers, “Well, of course!” It is the same with our landscape and garden plants.

They need a minimum of  1 ½ inches of rain each week when the temperature is 85 degrees F. Ideally, Mother Nature would give our plants ½ inch of rain on Monday, Wednesday and Friday – only at night and NEVER on weekends. We ALL know that it does not work that way. If there has been no rain, it is up to us homeowners to provide supplemental water with a watering wand, a sprinkler or a sprinkler system.

It is necessary to “calibrate your irrigation system” to know how much water it is delivering. That is fancy talk for: set up your sprinkler, place a pie pan in the path of the spray, turn on the water and, time how long it takes to fill the pan with ½ inch of water. It is different at every home, depending on the sprinkler used, the diameter of the hose and the water pressure.

Use that determined length of time to water 2-3 times during the week when there is no rainfall. Use a rain gauge in your yard to know exactly how much rain you have had in your garden, Don’t rely on the “official” reports from O’Hare or Midway. Your plants will thank you.

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