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Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Gardening

Rebecca shares 11 great summer watering tips to keep your plants healthy and your garden looking great through the heat of the summer.

Proper watering techniques depend upon the type of plant, the location, the type of soil, the temperature, the weather and the time of year. There are no hard and fast rules, but I do have lots of great tips that will help you succeed.

Before we start watering, it is important to learn the needs of your plants. Some like it dry, others prefer abundant moisture, and many more like moist, but well drained soils. The only way to know for sure is to learn through experience or ask more seasoned gardeners.

#1 Does Your Plant Need Water?

First, find out if your plants need water at all. The easiest way to check is to lift the pot. Dry pots will be light. Wet pots will feel heavy. With experience, you will learn how heavy a pot should feel when the soil is thoroughly moistened.

You can’t always use the lift-test with large plants or established gardens. In this case, use a soil moisture sensor, or use one of the best testing tools you have… your finger! You want to make sure the soil is moist at least several inches down not just the top 1-2.

Another way to check soil moisture is to grab a handful and squeeze. If it is too dry, the soil will crumble and separate. If it is too wet, the soil forms a tight ball with finger marks imprinted on it. If it is just right, the soil holds together without forming a solid mass.

The type of soil has great impact on watering. Sandy soils are easier to wet, but dry out faster. Clay soils are tough to wet once dry, but hold on to water for a longer period of time. Potting mixes or peat moss based products hold on to moisture well, but can be a challenge to re-wet if they dry out.

#2 Adjust your Watering Schedule As Needed

The second tip is to adjust your watering schedule as needed. Reduce watering when rainfall is abundant, and water more often when it is hot and dry. When too dry, many plants will show signs of stress and begin to wilt or collapse. Depending on the plant, it may be too late to revive it at this point – do don’t let it happen in the first place!

#3 Water At The Right Time!

Third, water at the right time. Early morning is the best . If you get the leaves wet, they will have time to dry before nightfall. It’s more difficult for plant diseases to get a foothold when the foliage is dry. If you water during the day, a lot of water will be lost to evaporation. If you water in the evening, the plant will be wet during the night and the temperature will be cooler. These are the best conditions for mildews, molds and all kind of disease problems. So basically, water in the morning if you can!

#4 Use Quality Watering Tools

Fourth, invest in the right watering tools. I learned a long time ago that life is too short for cheap hoses. There are so many high quality products, watering wands and watering cans on the market that there is no excuse for putting your thumb over the hose end and calling it good enough.

#5 Reduce Your Water Pressure

Using too much pressure, what we call firehosing, can damage your plants and shoot soil and fertilizer out of the pot. It also provides very little water to the actual plant. So the fifth tip is reduce your water pressure before you start.

#6 Water Slowly

Sixth, water slowly. A thorough deep watering helps roots grow downwards. Allow the water to soak deeply into the soil. Many times I will water, let the soil absorb the moisture, wait a few seconds, and then water again. I like to time myself as I water. Large plants or pots should get more time, small plants, less. I like to count to five or six for most medium sized pots.

If you water lightly and more frequently as many people do, you are putting your plants at risk in the heat. When the water is at the surface, roots grow upwards in search of moisture. Near the surface, water evaporates quickly leaving the roots vulnerable in hot dry soil.

#7 Avoid Watering The Foliage

Seventh, avoid watering the foliage and leaves if you can. Wetting the foliage is a waste of time, a waste of water and can promote the spread of disease. This is especially true for plants like roses or tomatoes. Deliver the water to the soil, not the leaves.

#8 Repeat Watering If Required

Eighth, repeat watering as needed. If you water too quickly, or apply too much water at once, the water may run down the outside of the root ball, leaving the center dry. This may also happen if the soil has completely dried out as dry soils can be difficult to re-wet. It may take several waterings to get the moisture back to the proper level.

#9 Water Hanging Baskets Properly

Ninth, water your hanging baskets properly. If you see a hanging basket moving around a lot in the wind - it may indicate that it is light and needs a water. Just like pots, you can lift a basket to check its weight. Either setup a drip system on a timer as we do here, or water manually with a watering wand and apply the water directly to the soil, not just the outside foliage. Keep the water going until it runs out the bottom of the basket. This is will take several seconds at very least. You’ll also find that moss baskets tend to dry out more quickly and may need to be watered more often.

#10 Water Your Trees

Tenth, for newly planted trees, invest in a Tree Gator or similar product. It’s a water filled bag that goes around the trunk and emits water over a period of time. It’s a great time saver and effective way to keep your newly planted trees alive through the summer heat.

#11 Mulch, Mulch, Mulch

Finally, in your garden, mulch whenever and wherever you can. 2-3 Inches of mulch covering your soil will go a long way to keeping the moisture in the root zone, moderating soil temperature and reducing the growth of weeds. A mulch can be anything, but the most popular at Art’s are the red fir and aged black conditioning mulch available in bags or bulk.

So there you have it! 11 great tips to keep your garden well-watered during the heat of the season. If you have any other questions, please feel free to drop in to Art’s Nursery or give us a call. Our talented, experienced horticulturists would be happy to provide additional plant care tips and advice.


Monday, March 16, 2015
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Gardening

Introducing our new video feature - What's In Bloom for March 2015! This short video series will be produced periodically and will showcase great plants available in each season.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Gardening

Here is a collection of 8 informative gardening videos that we've spotted around the web - enjoy!

Barberry Bush Care


Tips & Tricks For Blueberry Bushes


Best Spot To Plant a Fig Tree


Butterfly Bush - Buddliea


Sun Parasol Mandevillas


How to Replant Hydrangeas


How to Landscape with Rhododendrons


Tips for Taking Care of Gardenia Plants


Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Japanese Maples

In this video, Rebecca and Laurelle introduce 11 new and eye-catching japanese maples including:

Acer palmatum 'Peaches and Cream' – is a lovely little tree with a wicked cool silvery leaves with green veining and pinky orange tips.  The new growth is more pinky peach and the fall colour is a soft pastel gold and orange.  This breathtaking small feature tree grows to about 10 feet and is hardy from zones 5 to 8.  It prefers to be an understory tree in dappled shade and would be an amazing treasure to find in a woodland garden paired with massed blue anemone or Corydalis ‘Blue Panda’.

Acer palmatum 'Coral Pink' – is a diminutive and delicate small tree to 6 feet.  The leaves are speckled white and pink with the new growth a bright pink.  The fall colour is yellow and orange.  Young branches are also bright coral in colour.  An ideal specimen for a glossy black pot dripping with shady annuals.  This little tree is hardy to zone 6 and prefers a morning sun with afternoon shade position.

Acer palmatum 'Iijima Sunago' – is an upright vase shaped tree with bright green bark and deep burgundy leaves turning to a chocolate brown with green speckled leaves in the heat of summer. Sunago means dusted. The fall colour is orange and red. This hard to find selection will get to about 12 feet and form a round top. The effect of the larger chocolate leaves against the bright green bark is superb. It is hardy to zone 5 and prefers a part shade position.

Acer palmatum 'Beni Maiko' – the name means ‘red haired dancing girl’. This smaller tree grows to about 8 feet and has bright scarlet leaves in spring fading to pink and then green in the heat of summer. This tree lights up again in fall with a bright pinkish red. This small tree is hardy to zone 6 and prefers a sun to part shade position.

Acer palmatum 'Shin Deshojo' - Shin means new and this tree is an improved version of the Deshojo Japanese maple. This smaller broad canopied tree has truly spectacular colour changes which range from electric red in spring to a red green in the middle of summer to combinations of yellows, reds and oranges in fall. The branches are a deep burgundy giving this amazing tree further winter interest. It is an excellent choice for container planting and consistantly rates among the top favorites of Japanese maple afficianados. Shin deshojo grows to about 10 feet and prefers sun to dappled shade. It is hardy to zone 6.

Acer palmatum 'Olsens Frosted Strawberry' – The deeply lobed and serrated leaves which curve artfully at the tips start out strawberry red and then slowly turns to a rose pink as spring progresses and then fades to an intricate netted green with white. This is a slow grower with an open spreading habit. It is a brand new introduction with projected hardiness to about zone 6 and eventual height to around 8 feet. Give this delicate new form dappled shade or morning sun to best protect the exquisite colour.

Acer palmatum 'Hefner's Red' -- A sturdy vase shaped form with rich blood red foliage that maintains its colour throughout the summer. Fall colour is fire red. Great smaller anchor tree for a small garden in sun to part shade. It will grow to about 12 feet and is hardy to zone 5.

Acer palmatum 'Crimson Carole' - Is a vigorous bushy upright small tree to 10 feet in height. The leaves are large, serrated and orange burgundy and contrast nicely with the lime green branches. The fall colour is a bright red. This attractive feathery looking Japanese maple would look lovely underplanted with the bold foliage attractive feathery looking Japanese maple would look lovely underplanted with the bold foliage of a gold leaved hosta.

Acer palmatum 'Bihou' - is an outstanding small tree with delicate yellow leaves which become a bright orange and yellow. The bark on the twigs and branches are a sunshine yellow with a yellow orange tone in the winter giving this plant year round interest. This is a smaller tree would look stunning in a large glossy blue container on my deck. It is hardy to zone 6 and prefers part shade.

Acer palmatum 'Ariadne' - Is a lovely smaller spreading and cascading tree to 8 feet in height and almost as wide. Much like ‘Peaches and Cream’ is is a rosier form with colours of dusty pink, yellow, white following the green veining. The spring colour is soft marbled orange, pink and red with the fall colour mirroring the spring but with red margins. It is hardy to zone 6 and the colour is kept best with morning sun or even dappled shade.

Acer palmatum 'Oregon Fern' - is a very delicate textured small green upright Japanese maple with very finely dissected leaves. This one is also excellent for a container specimen and will grow slowly to about 8 feet, somewhat smaller if in a container. It is hardy to zone 5. The fall colour is a deep red and purple. Sun to part shade is best.

New Japanese Maples

These and dozens of other Japanese Maple varieties are available at Art's Nursery. For more information, drop by or call us at 604.882.1201.


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Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

We carry an incredible selection of plants, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, vines, groundcovers, roses and much more. Soils, bulk materials, pottery and a variety of garden accents are also available.

Our plant selection is so large that you can actually drive a golf cart while you shop!

We pride ourselves on providing high quality plant, expert advice and an exceptional gardening experience.

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