By: Mary Ellen Ellis
Naranjillais a fun plant to grow if you have the right conditions and don’t have anysmall children or outdoor animals that could be harmed by its massive andnumerous spines. This subtropical shrub native to South America produces ediblefruits and provides unique visual interest. Know how to water this plant so youcan keep it healthy and happy for its life span in your garden.
The naranjilla shrub, or small tree, is a subtropical plantthat produces an orange fruit. You can harvest the fruit, if you can get aroundthe terrifying spines, and use it to make juice. The pulpy interior of thefruit is also great for preserves. Even if you don’t use the fruit, this plantmakes a fun addition to a garden in warm climates. It will not tolerate frost,although in colder areas it can be an annual.
Naranjilla has moderate water requirements, and it reallyneeds to have well-drained soil. It will not tolerate or grow well withstanding water or soggy roots. Before you put it in your garden, considernaranjilla irrigation, how you’ll water it, and be sure that the soil willdrain adequately.
This is a plant that grows quickly, several feet in thefirst year, and that means it needs regular watering. Its water requirementswill go up in dry periods. Although it does tolerate drought fairly well,naranjilla will grow much better if you water it through those dry phases.
The best way to know when to water naranjilla is to look atthe soil. While it does need regular watering, you should allow the soil to dryin between. Check on the soil, and if the surface is dry, it’s time to water.When watering naranjilla, it’s best to do it in the morning. This minimizes therisk of standing water overnight that encourages disease.
You can use drip irrigation for watering naranjilla toconserve water, but it isn’t necessary. If your climate is particularly dry,this can also help give the plant a more continuous flow of water withoutoverwatering. You can also use mulch to help hold water in if your climate isdry.
Perhaps most importantly of all, avoid overwateringnaranjilla. Few plants can tolerate soggy roots, but naranjilla is particularlysusceptible to damage caused by overwatering. Always watch the soil and wateronly when the surface has dried.
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Unless your peach trees are growing in an area where irrigation is usually needed for growth (desert areas, drought-prone areas, containers, etc.), you probably won’t need to water your peach trees more than what the rain naturally provides after the first growing year. Until then, follow these guidelines to get your new peach trees off to a great start.
NOTE: This is part 10 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow peach trees , we recommend starting from the beginning.
Note: These guidelines are far from strict, so just be sure to water as needed. Peach trees do not need lots of water every day however, if you discover that your soil or your location’s environment require more frequent watering to avoid drought-stress to your peach trees, adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Pay attention to your peach trees and the soil they’re planted in as the best reference for when they need water. If you’re not sure, use a moisture meter to indicate when your tree needs water.
Keep in mind: many parts of the country have restrictions on water usage. Be sure to adhere to your county or state’s restrictions when watering new peach trees. Contact your local department in charge of water usage for more information.
Deep and infrequent watering encourages a deep root system and makes plants more tolerant of future droughts. Frequent, light watering encourages shallow root growth and thirstier plants.
Apply enough water to thoroughly wet the root zone. The larger the plant the larger the root zone. The root zones of trees and shrubs extend out from the trunk a distance at least equal to the height of the plant.
Apply water overhead with sprinklers or hoses, or apply water directly to the soil (the most efficient way to water) with soaker hoses, running a hose at a slow trickle around the roots, or drip irrigation.
Overhead sprinklers apply water rapidly to a patterned area. However, overhead watering can increase disease problems especially if water sits on the leaves for a prolonged period of time. For example, overhead watering promotes black spot on roses.
Sprinklers can be portable and moved around the landscape as needed or they can be permanently installed systems. Uniformity of watering depends on the type of sprinklers used, water pressure, and wind conditions. Closely monitor watering patterns to make sure targeted plants receive adequate water and to check the water is not running-off especially near hard surfaces.
Mulch plantings (no deeper than 3 inches) to reduce the need for watering during dry spells. Mulches keep soils cool and reduce water loss through evaporation.
Many people struggle to know how much to water their garden. Do you water for 20 minutes, 40 minutes, or more? How many days per week? And what type of sprinklers should you use?
If you have a mix of native plants and exotics, how much water does each plant type need to survive and thrive? And how do you know if your sprinklers are applying the right amount?
It sure can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. There are some general rules of thumb to help you work it all out.
Generally, most plants need about 30mm of water each week to be healthy. Natives often need less though, more like 30 mm every two weeks. That's why they are so water efficient!
Remember, follow the 3, 2, 1, watering guide for different plant groups:
Use the Weather Web to help you make smart decisions about watering your garden, based on the rainfall in or nearby your suburb. The Weather Web is a network of over 30 weather stations located on schools around the greater Darwin region providing local and current weather information.
If you water manually or have a standard automated irrigation system, keep an eye on the Weather Web and follow the above guidelines to make smart decisions about watering your garden.
If you have a smart irrigation controller, once you have set your weather triggers in the controller and connected it to the Weather Web, it will read the weather automatically and do all the work for you!
So, how do you work out how long to run your irrigation to apply the right amount of water? For lawns you can work out the amount specific to your sprinklers by doing a catch can test.
Every garden is different, so follow the above guidelines, but always keep an eye on your plants and give them a drink if they look thirsty.
The 3, 2, 1 watering guide above will encourage your plants to grow deep root systems giving them better access to water and nutrients in the soil. If you have been watering your garden more frequently, say twice a day, you should wean it to the 3, 2, 1 watering guide gradually.
If this all sounds a bit confusing or over-whelming, or if your irrigation needs a bit of work, why not get a free Garden Tune Up. A registered irrigation controller will audit your irrigation system and set your controller to be water efficient. They will also give you advice to help you keep a water smart, healthy and happy garden and do small on the spot repairs up to the value of $50.