Dragging Hose

Since a great, all day, soaking rain on Mothers Day, our Pittsburgh area weather has been hot and dry, so this is the precise time when watering your outdoor plants can make a real difference.

While all the trees and shrubs in the Pittsburgh area have pushed out their new growth, and are now in the process of completing their Spring flower shows, it’s past time to start ‘dragging hose,’ which is the Bobscaping term for watering plants. At least for those of us who don’t have an automatic irrigation system or drip irrigation, to do the watering for us. Watering now, gives plants that final boost they need for adding new growth. Heat plus water equals good growth, and in the case of newly planted trees or shrubs, it may even become a case of their survival.

The old rule of thumb around Pennsylvania, is to water thoroughly once a week, if rainfall is less than one inch. I don’t see any weather forecast for anywhere near that much rain until at least Friday, while high temperatures are due to remain in the upper seventies or eighties.


With the widespread use of shredded wood mulch, several inches deep, it’s very important to apply water slowly enough, that it has time to penetrate the mulch. The more finely shred, double and triple shredded mulches in particular, can create somewhat of a crust, that almost repels water. My technique is to water several plants, then go back three or four times to water them again.

Dig through your mulch after watering the next time, to determine just how well the water penetrated it. You might be surprised!


For newly planted trees, the slow- watering bags, like the Treegator, are very effective at applying the water slowly and thoroughly. And be sure to continue proper watering through the summer months, even after your ‘Spring Fever’ for landscaping has worn off, since it will go a long way toward promoting next Spring’s flower show and new growth.

Morning is the best time to water, but if plants are thirsty, buy them a drink — anytime!

For those who have planted grass seed in May, your watering work is cut out for you! My recommendation is to wet newly planted seed every morning around daybreak. Once it has germinated and grown an inch or two, your work continues, since those baby grass plants on counting on you to establish good root systems, with less frequent, but more thorough watering. Next time around, try doing your lawn seeding during September, or what I call ‘Lawn Month.’

It’s no longer “Think Spring” — it’s now “Do Spring,” since your plants are counting on you!