It wouldn’t be Alabama if our weather was “normal” or even “predictable,” but even a good percent of those who’ve been around prior to the advent of Blue Tooth and iPads agree our patterns have gotten squirrelier in recent years. Regardless of what happens with weather patterns, which we can’t control, we can take extra precautions to plant and maintain our gardens and landscapes to deal with too much OR too little rainfall. What can we do? Follow basic gardening advice such as the right plant in the right place. If you know there are low spots in your landscape or yard, installing plant material that can’t handle ”wet feet” is not a good idea. If you must go against this advice, at least mound or berm soil to get roots higher so they won’t rot.Planting trees is a long-term method of addressing the excess water issue as leaves, bark, and roots retain a huge amount of water. Trenching or installing French drains to redirect water in areas of gardens and landscapes that collect too much rain is an option. Depending on budget, a trench can help with drainage problems, but be careful of where the trench is directed or the problem can simply move to another area.Mulching around plants, whether newly installed or not, will slow rain absorption and help prevent soil compaction in the root area. Avoid overcrowding plants. Even in drier conditions, lack of air circulation in our humid climate contributes to disease, fungal issues, and lack of plant vigor.Fertilization needs extra attention as rainfall leaches nutrients, especially nitrogen, from the soil. Using slow-release products helps replenish minerals required by your plants by spreading the “meal” over several weeks instead of in one serving.Every think about catching some of this bounty for use during dry periods? Come to an Extension rain barrel construction workshop and learn how to redirect rain from your roof for use in your landscape or garden.For additional information regarding these and other home grounds issues, contact your county Extension office. Learn more about what is going on by visiting our website, www.aces.edu .
Sallie Lee, Home Grounds REA
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