Most Helpful Gardening Gadgets

Getting Young Trees through Hot Times

Large Magnolia Tree

Large Southern Magnolia Tree: you cannot buy a tree like this you can only take care of it once you purchase the property

Little Gem Magnolia Dallas Garden Landscaping Lee Ann Torrans

Little Gem Magnolia Dallas Garden Landscaping  Little Gem does not have the golden underleaf.  Its leaves are more pliable.

Getting from “A” to “B” means getting through those hot, early summers for a new tree.

Hedge row young new Magnolias. New Magnolia with a "water well." This looks like a DD Blanchard Magnolia to me with the golden underleaf, an oval pyramid shape, profuse blooms and leaves five to eight inches long.

Hedge row young new Magnolias. New Magnolia with a “water well.” This looks like a DD Blanchard Magnolia to me with the golden underleaf, an oval pyramid shape, profuse blooms and leaves five to eight inches long.

New Magnolias

New Magnolia with a “water well.”  This looks like a DD Blanchard Magnolia to me with the golden underleaf, an oval pyramid shape, profuse blooms and leaves five to eight inches long.

Hedgerow of Magnolias at the Nasher Sculpture Center. One of the most impressive hedgerows in Dallas.

Hedgerow of Magnolias at the Nasher Sculpture Center. One of the most impressive hedgerows in Dallas.

Once your new tree is planted the job begins to keep it alive!  It takes two to three years for a tree to become established and hopefully develop a strong root system to allow the tree to make it through heat and drought without serious attention and concern.

Keep your new tree not too wet, not too dry, but just right.  Sounds simple!  Trees are delivered or brought home in the back of your pick up truck in large containers and/or burlapped wrapped root balls.  You want to keep the core of the root ball reasonably damp but not soggy.  I do this with a 25 foot flat soaker hose attached to a faucet timer.

 

The goal is go avoid water waste and excess runoff.  It is possible to place a slow water flow from a hose over a tree (thinking, believing you are doing the right by the tree) with most of water running off and completely miss soaking the rootball.  That’s where the soaker hose comes in.  I also use a deep water tester to make sure the root ball is wet.

The realities of working with a soaker hose, benefits and ‘watch outs!’

There are many reasons to work with a soaker hose.  The water is more directed to the plant, there is less evaporation, less water is used and you can be more certain the water being used goes where you want it to go.

I also use soaker hoses with roses to keep water off the leaves and protect from black spot.  When you are using a soaker hose circled around a tree you do not have to worry as much about water distribution.  The longer the hose, the less water makes it to the end of the hose.  If you are circling around a tree this does not matter as much but if you are using the hose stretched out as in a rose bed this matters!

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Water Meter to the Rescue!

Water meter to the rescue.  Using a water meter goes hand in hand with using a soaker hose and managing container gardening.  Use your water meter to be certain the water is being distributed the way you want it distributed.

The plain fact is, water at the beginning of the hose system is much more abundant than water at the end of the hose system.   You can accommodate for this by simply doubling the hose at the end but you need to know when and where the water begins to play out.  You water meter will help you figure that out.

Also keep an eye on the rubber washer situation.  Is it worn out, do you need a new one?  Is it doing more harm than good?

Oklahoma Grandiflora Rose

Oklahoma Floribunda subject to black spot with water on leaves.  Soaker hoses work perfectly for rose gardens.

Dead Dog Heat of Summer and Dry Root Balls

I always hope a new tree never gets to the dry stage in the dead dog heat of summer but if or when it does I use watering stakes.  They are particularly important for large trees located in a small median.

Twilight Large Purple Crape Myrtle Tree

Twilight purple crape myrtle reaches over 40 feet tall.


Dallas Texas Landscaping Entrance and Doors

Crape Myrtles must get through the first two precarious years to reach this stage!

Treegator Protects from RunOff

“Treegators”  holds 20 gallons of water or more with a zipper to snug it up to the tree trunk.  The water then slowly leaches out into the root area of the tree without runoff.

Watering Systems for Container Gardening

 Beautiful flowering containers mean spring is here and summer is full speed ahead!  Working, vacationing, life gets in the way of keeping those containers moist.  A healthy system starts with water absorbing crystals and pellets.  I have used both the expensive and the inexpensive in bulk. There is no difference in performance so go with the size that suits your needs.

Container Garden in Dallas Landscape Design. "Rule of Three."

Shallow containers are very popular but keeping them moist is a challenge.  This container follows the design “Rule of Three.”  It is filled with water pellets, good potting soil which is added to every year and behind has a little watering hose for automatic watering.  That’s a variegated pittosporum on the left side of the image and a variegated hosta on the right!  Someday this spot will be too crowded for a container but for now …


Once you install a watering system for your containers you will never, ever go back to hand watering.  Life is just too short, we are too busy multi-tasking!  Get your system together and let it rip!  You will be glad you did and so will your plants, your neighbors (who get to enjoy your container gardening as well) and your family.

Tapioca, a Texas Superstar with Lantana

Variegated Tapioca in container.  The massive root system here will require constant water support.

Container gardening: making it work!

Container gardening: making it work!  These large pots are quick to dry out on the top and the little roots only go siz inches deep.  It can be difficult to keep the top of the pots moist.

 

Dallas Gardens

Yucca Container Gardening. These shallow containers have a watering system.

 My Gardening Go To’s

 Two things make gardening work for me:  my five pound pick ax and Osmocote fertilizer.  The pick ax lives at my backdoor with my gardening shoes and I never step into the yard without it.  I will hack up a weed, find a tiny violet taking hold near the air conditioner and move it to the patio’s edge, trench for fertilizer of pop in a six pack of annuals with their Osmocote fertilizer.
 A few years ago I fell victim to the splashy commercials of gardeners with their little containers attached to their hoses filled with fertilizer, hand spraying their garden.  It just never worked for me, not like Osmocote.  That was the one and only time I strayed.  Maybe there IS something better out there, I just do not know what it is.

My Favorite New Toys

I only have one of these and cannot really recommend them.  You need to set them up on cinder blocks and the spigot should be at the bottom.  Makes me feel good to use rain water but not so sure this is a viable situation, at least so far for me.  Still, they’re fun.


Next Week:  Raised Gardening Beds that Last a Lifetime

Raised Gardening Beds in Texas Landscape Design

Raised Gardening Beds in Texas Landscape Design

Thyme, perennial herb great for raised beds.

Thyme, perennial herb great for raised beds.

Flowering Oregano Mid-April Texas

Raised Bed Gardening: Flowering Oregano

How to build them, how to fill them and how to irrigate them!  Even how to protect the produce from the birds (but not the bees)!