The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Ag

July 13, 2013

Proper watering essential

ENID, Okla. — July gardening tips in Oklahoma emphasize keeping our landscapes and gardens properly hydrated.

Generally, we need to remember to apply about 1 to 2 inches of water per week to those planted areas. This should moisten the soil to at least a 6-inch depth, which will encourage deeper root growth.

However, because of intense heat or other factors, such as soil type, age of plants, their exposure to wind and sun, and needs specific to individual plants, watering may have to be more frequent, according to David Hillock, an Oklahoma State University master horticulturist.

The key is to water deeply and to try to avoid frequent irrigation, which will result in shallow roots making the plant more susceptible to stress.  One more general rule of watering is to do so early in the morning long before the intense heat of the day.

Another Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service horticultural tip for July is to make fall vegetable garden plantings now. Fact Sheet HLA-6009, online at oces.okstate.edu under Horticulture, gives planting recommendations. You also can call 237-1228 or go by the Garfield County Extension Office at 316 E. Oxford for fact sheets or advice on this subject from a master gardener.

While at the center, plan to visit the master gardeners’ demonstration garden and arboretum there. You will find prime examples of water conservation methods, such as drip irrigation on timers and the generous use of mulch both in the flower garden and around the trees in the arboretum.

Most of the plant material in these areas was chosen from the Oklahoma Proven list. This means they are especially well adapted for growing in our state. All of the plants are clearly labeled and July is a good month to see many of them at their peak. Be sure to pick up your Oklahoma Proven brochure inside at the master gardener’s desk.

There are many additional fact sheets available at the center. July topics of interest includes yard maintenance, insect and pest control and transplanting of perennials.

In general, we are directed to keep mowing heights for cool-season turf grasses at 3 inches and to gradually raise the mowing height of bermuda grass lawns from 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Use a mulching blade and leave grass clippings on the lawn both for water conservation and fertilization. Use commercial fertilizers sparingly only on warm-season grasses at this time.

We should continue our insect combat and control methods in the orchard, garden and landscape. Know that insect identification is important so we won’t get rid of the good guys. Be sure to check pesticide labels for stop spraying recommendations prior to harvesting our fruit and vegetable crops. July also is the time for harvesting, dividing and replanting crowded hybrid iris.

Enjoy your lawn and gardening tasks during the month of July. Take time to provide birdbaths, food and shelter for wildlife. Please keep yourself just as free of environmental stress as you have your plant and animal friends. Work during the cool morning hours if possible and hydrate appropriately.

Kirkpatrick is a member of Garfield County Master Gardeners.

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