Some Say The Trend Is For Repeat Hot & Dry Summers Ahead in BC

Hot and dry. Nice, but there are consequences.

In 2015 the rainfall for Vancouver since January 1 through June 24 is 135.6mm less (21.5% less precipitation) than the same period in 2014, comparing 631.5mm (2014) with 495.9mm this year.

The more remarkable comparison is comparing the three months April 1 through June 24 this year to 2014. This comparison shows 120.0mm less (64% less precipitation) this year with only 67.5mm this year in the three-month period, compared with 187.5mm in 2014.

Here are some good ideas to help your yard during very dry periods.

In the Garden

When planning a garden for dry weather, select plants known for their tolerance to drought, and plant them according to directions considering shade and soil conditions. It is also a good idea to group plants together according to their specific needs.

Planting a strip of annuals along side a driveway and walkways make good use of any water running off of the paved areas.

Consider dry-proof garden elements such as large boulders, river-rock, low-height-foliage plantings, mulches and other landscape coverings. Lower maintenance in drought conditions required.

While it only helps when it rains, a rain barrel or other wide-mouth container to capture any rainfall is useful. Use the water regularly to avoid mosquitoes and other stagnant water pests. Protect the containers with screens and them from tipping by those nasty raccoons, rats and skunks. They are not in the least bit cute or welcome in our yard. Just my opinion. (I had to get that out there.)

For plants already in the ground and maturing, consider your watering schedule. It is far better to water deep than often, especially for trees and large shrubs. This encourages the plants to send roots deeper below the surface where moisture is more likely to remain during periods of drought. So, water less often, but let the water run longer to penetrate deeper into the earth.

Ground covers reduce surface evaporation and are more tolerant to drought than many of the plants they protect.

Planters are shallow and should be watered more often, especially flowering baskets, bonsai and specimens in outdoor pots. It is best to water in the early morning or later in the day to minimize evaporation. I prefer morning watering to avoid encouraging fungus, slugs and other 'bad-for-plants' pests attracted to moisture overnight.

Soaker hoses provide water with less evaporation, and allow some degree of accuracy in terms of getting the water to where it is required.

I take most of my advice from other web sites and personal experience in the garden. Try the Better Homes & Gardens page on Drought Tolerant Landscaping Ideas for more specific ideas and links.

Enjoy the hot and dry weather. If you find this information useful I'll try to do more on topics around the home in the future. Let me know how I can make this technical newsletter more useful and enjoyable for you.

All the best, always.