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Time to update drip system

This is an ideal time to make changes in your drip system. Working conditions are perfect and plants withstand disturbances better now.

Determining the number of emitters depends on your soil. If you have a hard soil, space emitters 3 feet apart for uniform watering. If it’s sandy soil, place emitters 1 foot apart.

Work on one tree at a time. First, find the main polyethylene supply line. Dig down, following an exposed emitter to find the half-inch tubing. Expose enough tubing to connect the spaghetti tubing and emitters to the line. Nurseries sell the punch and connectors to add new spaghetti tubing and emitters.

Connect several spaghetti tubes close together, so you don’t have to dig down to the main line for every individual new tube and emitter added. Run tubes around the plants to achieve the proper spacing, creating little furrows to bury the tubing. Locate emitters themselves aboveground so it’s easier to check for problems.

It’s also the best time to change from basin flooding to drip irrigation. We often place basins around new trees for a more thorough wetting of the rootball and soil. However, basins may not blend with the landscape. When making this change, it is critical to have emitters closer together to evenly water the area. After expansion, deeply water trees and shrubs.

To determine the depth of wetting, push a reinforcing bar — which you can find at a home supply store — down through the soil. It will stop when you encounter dry soil (or rocks, so move bar if necessary). If the water isn’t getting deep enough, irrigate longer.

Finally, if your irrigation system is more than 10 years old the tubing slowly degrades and leaks begin to occur. It’s best to install a new system.

LOW SUNLIGHT PROBLEMS

A lack of sunlight caused by short winter days causes plant problems in Las Vegas. Sun-loving plants may stop growing.

Houseplants are affected by light reduction. Plants growing in north-facing windows or far away from windows generally become light deficient. Indications of light stress are yellowing or dropping of leaves, becoming leggy and loss of flowering.

Relocate plants that require a lot of light, such as potho, jade plant, asparagus fern, schefflera and others closer to west- and south-facing windows.

Placing houseplants near fluorescent lights will increase light exposure. Keep them away from incandescent bulbs because they produce heat. When starting garden seedlings indoors, use a fluorescent tube to provide light.

Shade conditions on patios can be trouble, too. Geranium, petunia, snapdragon, calendula and stock may cease flowering. Relocate them so they receive at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Longer hours of indirect light will compensate for the lack of direct sunlight.

If your evergreen trees cast too much shade on your sun-loving plants, thin trees out to enable more sunlight through. Do your pruning in January.

When planting vegetables and flowerbeds, place taller plants on the north side so they don’t block the sun for shorter varieties.

GARDENING RESOLUTIONS

Tips for making your garden successful will be offered during a program at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd.

Contact Linn Mills at linn.mills@springs preserve.org or call him at 822-7754.

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