How much to water plants during hot weather from a local horticulturist

ByABC 7 Chicago Digital Team via WLS logo
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
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Here's how much to water your plants during hot weather.

WILMETTE, Ill. (WLS) -- With the temperatures in the 90s and the rain staying absent, the quote to live by is "if you are thirsty, your plants need water, too!"

Jennifer Brennan, a horticulturist at Chalet Nursery, joined ABC 7 Chicago Wednesday to give some tips on watering plants during hot weather.

At 75 degrees, plants need 1 inch of rain per week and for every 10 degrees above 75, they need an additional 1/2 inch of rain or supplemental water.

For newly planted vegetation, the roots take six to eight weeks to move from the "root ball" into the surrounding soil.

Summer gardening tips from a local horticulturist

With windy conditions, the plants "transpire," and water is "pulled" by evaporation out of the root system, leaving the plants in stress.

Be sure to water the plants at least once a day when the temperatures are over 85, Brennan said.

Water the soil, or ground, and not the plants. Just watering the leaves will only cool the plant off. It will not get the water into the ground where the roots can absorb it and transport it to the leaves, flowers and fruit.

Brennan's "trick" to make sure that you have applied enough water is to mentally divide the rootball area into quarters. Hold a watering wand over the surface of the ground of quarter No. 1 and count to yourself "1, 2, 3, 4, 5." Then move the watering wand tip to quarter No. 2 and count again to 5. Do that for all four quarters. Repeat three times around the circle.

It may be necessary two to three times per week at these hot temperatures, Brennan said. Be aware of humidity and wind conditions to make your decisions.