'Dirt Dude' Shares Advice On Protecting Our Plants In The Extreme Heat

Sunday, July 31st 2011, 10:33 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The heat is taking it's toll on some of our most prized possession, our trees, lawn, and flowers. So what's the best way to protect our plants? We went to the Dirt Dude for answers.

Six in the Morning's "Dirt Dude" Stephen Smith knows a thing or two about plants and helping them grow. He says this oppressive heat makes it challenge to keep flowers, trees, and grass from withering away.

His first piece of advice: make sure when you water that it gets deep, down the roots.

"Water long, deep soaks. I really disagree with the really short, 5 to 10 minute bursts everyday, I just don't think it does enough. You want to encourage deep watering," Smith said.

Smith says you should water for at least 30-45 minutes, if you have clay soil though you should water it even longer.

Sprinklers or a spray hose work fine he says but a soaker hose like this gets the water deep into the ground.

"I think one of the best ways is these soaker hose, these drip hose, these recycled rubber hoses where you can snake them in and around your landscape," he said.

He says make sure you bury it under the mulch or a little bit under the top soil to prevent the water inside the hose from getting too hot.

If you live in an area that's rationing water, Smith says the priority should be trees first, because they're the most expensive to replace, then foundation plants, and then your lawn. He says the grass in your lawn will most likely grow back.

As for the trees, the biggest mistake Smith says is watering the trunk. He says the best way to protect a tree is to water as far as its canopy spreads.

"I don't generally recommend a garden hose up and around the trunk because that's not really where the roots are. You want to water a space, maybe a simple little whirly sprinkler that'll water a circle around the tree maybe four or five or six foot diameter circle," Smith said.

You might be concerned if you see leaves falling from your trees, but Smith says that's just a defense mechanism, it's not dead, and all it means is that your tree needs watering