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October 27, 2017 4:04 pm

Knowing the Moisture Needs of Your Garden

Saturday, August 12, 2017 @ 6:45 AM

When it comes to plants, there are some  that require more moisture than others.

It is often during a dry spell that we become more aware of a plants moisture needs because this is when it is noticed, but the better time to think about a plants moisture needs is when you are planning the landscape.

There are some areas in the landscape that may be drier than others or are not within easy reach of a sprinkler system, and these areas would be better suited for drought tolerant plants.

Another option would be to put in a xeriscape which is a landscape using drought tolerant plants and water conservation methods.

Soil is always an important factor when planning a landscape. A soil that is high in organic matter will help retain moisture as well as be fertile. Before you plant anything amend the soil.

When planning what to plant where, think in groups. Group plants together with the same water needs so that they can be on the same water routine. Also check how much sun/shade the area receives as this will also dictate the plant choices. Shady areas will stay moist longer so higher maintenance plants that enjoy the shade should be planted there. You can also create your own shade by planting larger trees and shrubs to block the sun for smaller sized plants.

There are a number of different plants that are drought tolerant but they first need to be established. For trees, shrubs and perennials this will take at least a season. Once the plant has a good root system it will be better equipped to handle drier conditions. Many of the native plants are drought tolerant, but consider where they grow in nature. For example, a fern found growing in nature is usually in a shaded, moist area and is not drought tolerant.

A sample of some of the different trees and shrubs that are drought tolerant include Ash, Bur Oak, Caragana, Currant, Juniper, Potentilla, Pine, Sumac, and Snowberry. There is a number of perennials that will do well in dry areas. These include Blue False Indigo, Cone Flower, Black Eyed Susan, Threadleaf Coreopsis, Yarrow, Bearded Iris, Lambs Ears, Globe Thistle, Catmint, Speedwell, Blanket Flower, and ground covers such as Snow in Summer, Daylily, Lanimum, Pinks, Kinnikinnik, and Goutweed.

Another group of perennials such as succulents are known for their ability to thrive in areas with very little moisture. Hens & Chicks, Sedums, and Stonecrop all do very well.

Another group of plants that is gaining in popularity is grasses. Some of the grasses such as Blue Fescue, Blue Oat Grass, and Karl Foerster, are all very attractive and do well in low moisture areas.

After everything has been planted, water it in well and continue to do so throughout the season. Adding a thick layer of mulch over the planted area will help in keeping moisture in the soil and moderating soil temperatures as well as the added bonus of keeping weeds down.


Jos Van Hage owns an operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George:

  • Highway 16 west at Kimball Road
  • Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill Road


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