We've been getting a lot of phone calls lately about trees and shrubs that are looking sickly. Some seem to be normal transplant shock, and some, I believe, are drowning from too much water. With all of the rain that we have been receiving, this isn't something that we can fix, but we can keep it from happening when we plant. This advice is, of course, for people living in Colorado. I am not sure if this works in all parts of the USA.
When you are planting a plant that eventually doesn't take much water usage, plant UP. Usually 1-2 inches higher than the ground level is sufficient. What you're allowing is water run off to go to the roots, but also allowing the roots to breathe. With all of this water, your plants are oxygen starved!! Especially with the clay soil that is most prevelant in Colorado. If you have a plant that does need more water to survive, plant at ground level. When planting, make sure you are adding water as you plant to see if the plants stay at ground level, or starts sinking to below ground level. If this is the case, build up the plant. Although too much water is a slow death, it does end up the same way: sticks planted in your gardens.
You also might be noticing your grass is looking a bit iffy, too. Again, the constant rain has made your grass just sit there looking beautiful and green, but none of the roots have needed a reason to spread and look for more water. So...with the 90 degree days, your grass is going through some shock, too. As MUCH as you want to water, water, water. DON'T!!! Follow the water guidelines for your city and stick with them. You will eventually have a healthier lawn if you do this. I also remind all to fertilize, fertilize, fertilize (organically, of course!) during the major Holidays. Think Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day.
Our plants can handle this unusual wet spring and summer we have been receiving if you plant correctly, and don't add more water to an already oxygen starved plant. If you are asking yourself, "how do I know if my plants are getting too much water or not enough?" use your hands as a guide. Dig by the plant (not too close to upset the roots!) about 4-6 inches down. If the soil is dry that far down, time to water. If your soil is wet where if you squeeze it and water comes out...take a few days to let it dry out. If the ground is just moist enough where it can clump together, it's perfect...wait another day before watering. Just because the soil is dry on top does NOT mean the soil is dry lower down. Our Colorado winds and high altitude dry out the top layer pretty fast. Let your hands be the judge.
Happy non-watering! :)