How do I care for my plants during drought?

Asked August 2, 2015, 11:53 AM EDT

I have a large selection of roses and clematis. Both show signs of stress due to the ongoing heat. With the possibility of water rationing, I would like direction in caring for them with minimal loss.

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

First, mulch them with compost and bark chips to reduce moisture loss 2 to 4 inches deep. Add organic matter actually into the soil around your plants in addition to the mulch since it helps the soil retain water. Make sure the mulch you use is pulled away a few inches from the base of the plant (up to six) and does not touch the plant's trunk. Don't prune, apply pesticides or fertilizer during a drought. Water the soil, not the plants, preferably early in the morning. Water deeply and less frequently, once or twice a week. You can collect water from when you boil pasta, or from showers or baths, let it cool and use it to water.