Last spring was hot and dry. You know what it has been like recently. Plants and most people would do better with something in between. The goal of an inch of moisture per week for plants has been quadrupled.

Raised beds and container gardening are helpful under our present weather conditions. These methods of gardening should aid in draining away excess water. Roots respire and give off carbon dioxide. When there is too much water the carbon dioxide is trapped and the roots suffocate. Oxygen available to the roots is necessary for plants to live.

An automatic irrigation system is handy when it is dry. It may need the owner’s attention to be sure that it isn’t running at this time. Turn the clock off. When the plants need water again, it can be turned back on.

Hard driving rain and flooded soil will likely form a crust as it dries out. The crust will prevent carbon dioxide from getting out and oxygen in. You will need to break up the crust where possible to improve your plants’ health. One reason to core aerate the lawn is to improve air circulation around the turf roots.

Plants will have developed shallow root systems from the wet conditions. It will be the gardener’s tasks to build a deeper root system for the rest of the growing season. Deeper and more infrequent irrigation will aid in developing a healthy root system when we move out of this wet weather pattern.

Keeping our plants healthy is necessary. One large tree can capture and filter up to 36,500 gallons of water per year. Plant roots hold soil in place to reduce erosion.

Our native plants have to survive on whatever nature throws at them. They don’t get extra water from any installed irrigation system. These plants deal with drought and excess moisture. The vast majority of them continue to live year after year giving us oxygen and removing carbon dioxide.

You can find out more information on this and other horticulture topics by going to the Riley County, K-State Research and Extension website at Gregg may be contacted by calling 785-537-6350 or stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mail:

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