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Experts weigh in on keeping gardens, trees alive during drought conditions

Posted at 6:47 PM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-10 12:24:45-04

WACO, Texas — As summer continues to heat up, central Texas greenery is drying out.

"Our residential gardens, our smaller gardens, even other crops are starting to see a natural downturn in production anyway," Chadd Caperton with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension told 25 News. "Mainly because of the heat this time of year but also decreased rainfall."

Experts say it's really important to ensure not only your gardens but also your trees are getting enough water to prevent future harm.

"Trees, they won't show symptoms for seven to ten years later very often," McLennan County Extension Agent Shane McLellan said. "So we're going to see damage to trees from this drought seven to ten years from now. After the 2011 drought, we were still seeing damage in 2017-2018."

There are a few ways to make watering your trees the most effective including watering in the evening and not only near the trunk, but also a few feet around to ensure all roots get moisture.

"Don't just flood an area and expect it to be okay," McLellan said. "Water it slowly over time to let all of that water soak into the root zone."

A good way to see how much water your trees will need is to grab a screwdriver and dig it into the ground right next to the tree trunk. If it doesn't go in that deep, it might need some more water. If it goes in really easily, experts say you're probably good for a while.

"I see a lot of people over watering their trees and it's actually making them sicker," McLellan said." Water them every ten days. Seven to ten days is plenty. Give them some time to dry out and let mother nature run its course then water them again."

As drought conditions continue, people are asked to take care of what they already have planted but not to plant anything new for a while.

"We don't want to water with the goal of seeing more growth or production," Caperton said. "We want to water with a goal of just trying to maintain, keep things healthy to get us to our next rain event."