I was really hoping to get through the growing season without watching for soil water deficiencies. Unfortunately, it is summer in Kansas and that is not possible. The two Kansas Mesonet soil moisture monitoring sites in the Meadowlark Extension District show declining soil moisture levels. With the weather forecast as it looks today, this trend is likely to continue.
How much water does a corn or soybean crop need before maturity? Corn at the start of the bump requires five inches of water to reach maturity. The soybeans will need seven to nine to complete the harvest. Some of this can still be obtained from soil moisture, but these falling levels could certainly cause problems as the crop progresses into maturity.
You can check soil moisture levels yourself on the Kansas Mesonet Soil Moisture page (https://mesonet.k-state.edu/agriculture/soilmoit/). If you’re interested in learning more about the Mesonet program, consider attending our Fall Plot Tour on Thursday, August 19 starting at 4:15 p.m. at the Colonial Acres Event Center (Taylor Insurance Services) in Oskaloosa. Mesonet Director Christopher Redmond will speak about the Mesonet program. He will be joined by Dr Dorivar Ruiz-Diaz, KSU Soil Fertility Specialist, to talk about best practices in fertilizer management.
At the end of the program we will have a meal sponsored by Tarwater Farm & Home. For meal counts, please confirm your attendance by noon on August 17th by contacting the Meadowlark Extension District office in Oskaloosa at (785) 863-2212 or emailing [email protected] Thanks to Taylor Insurance Services and Tarwater Farm and Home for their generous sponsorship.
Water newly planted trees and shrubs
It goes without saying that newly planted trees and shrubs do not have the root system of established trees meaning they need additional watering during hot / dry / windy summers. What needs to be explained is that “newly planted” should probably extend to trees for up to three years.
If you have “newly planted” trees, plan to provide at least 10 gallons of water per week (sandier soils will take a lot more…) to keep them in good condition. If you are dealing with larger or older trees, even more water will be needed.
When watering, focus on getting water deep into the soil. Use a pierced bucket or a perforated garden hose to channel the water through the tree’s root system (avoid watering everything in one spot) so that it can get into the root zone and be less affected by it. surface evaporation. Whichever method you choose, wet the soil to at least 12 inches deep. Use a metal rod, wooden dowel, electric fence post, or screwdriver to check the depth. Dry ground is much more difficult to walk through than wet ground.
NOTE: For fruit tree growers, even once they are well established, fruit trees can be affected by high temperatures which can lead to fruit drop, smaller fruit and even reduce bud development to fruits for next year’s harvest. Check the humidity as recommended above. If you cannot drive the rod or screwdriver into the ground to a depth of 20-30cm, additional water may be needed. Check the soil moisture again in a week to see if another watering is needed