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Tips for Helping Your Plants Survive a Drought

July 16, 2014

     Whether you live in the dry, arid Southwest, or the North East corner of the United States, you will at some time have to face a drought. It may not be as bad in your area as it is in others, but it’s still a drought nonetheless and your plants will suffer for it if you don’t take action now. 

     Using a drip irrigation system is your best defense against drought conditions and your garden withering away. The advanced watering techniques used in modern drip irrigation systems can keep your plants watered and healthy without any extra effort on your part.

     During a drought, the lack of water can kill your plants’ root systems quickly and without much warning. This is why getting water to the roots during a drought condition is more important than ever. If you notice your soil becoming hard and compact or the leaves on your plants falling off, you need to get them more water quickly. With a drip irrigation system, that watering is done for you automatically. 

Drip Irrigation to the Rescue!

     Using drought resistant plants for your landscape is an easy way to protect those plants from drought related damage, but there are no fruits or vegetable plants that are considered truly drought resistant. If your garden is in need of water and your plants are suffering, you may not even be able to water them if you live in certain parts of the country that places limits on how much you can water. This is another instance where drip irrigation watering will come into play. Drip irrigation systems use much less water than conventional watering methods and will enable your plants to remain healthy while others are withering and dying right before your eyes. A drip irrigation system will also reduce your overall water consumption by 30 to 50% compared to other watering methods in use today. 

    When watering your plants, you shouldn’t overwater as this could cause as much damage as a lack of water could. You want a proper wetting pattern that targets the root zones and will give them just enough water to remain moist and not oversaturated. Watering early in the day is best and if you are experiencing a drought condition, avoid using fertilizer as certain ingredients in them could harm the root systems of your plants if not enough water is present.

Scheduled Watering Made Easy

     Using a drip irrigation system, you are able to water several times per week using less water and still maintaining the health of your plants.  Letting the top few inches of soil dry out between watering will allow the roots and soil organisms to breathe properly and, when combined with a 3 or 4-inch layer of organic mulch, plants will use almost all of the water that you provide with little evaporation loss, especially in areas with high temperatures and/or wind. When using a drip irrigation system, you can also add a drip line to it that will allow water to enter the soil at predetermined spots getting more water to the plants’ roots where it’s needed most.

     When prioritizing your watering schedule during drought conditions, remember to water newly planted ones first and then others based on how they can handle the stress of a drought. Start with new plants, then older, more established plants, trees and finally your grass if you are able to. Grass will normally turn green very quickly when water becomes available again which is why they are last on this list and your trees will take more water than any of your other plants combined.

     Today’s drip irrigation systems work in a wide variety of conditions, but during a drought is where they really shine. Being able to water your plants and keep them healthy using very little water is a gardener’s dream come true and only a drip irrigation system can make that happen. Drip irrigation systems are highly effective, very efficient and can save you thousands of dollars per year in water costs. With drip irrigation and with your help, drought conditions don't have to result in the devastation of your plants. Happy gardening!

    Drip Irrigation Expert Mike

    Written by Mike Ricker | Mike Ricker is always looking for ways to make drip irrigation easier for everyone.  If you found this article useful or have a great tip please pass it on to Mike at: