As parts of north Georgia experience extreme drought, homeowners are searching for ways to provide water to their precious landscape plants.During long periods without rain, I get calls at the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office in Wilkes County from people who want to save a specific tree or shrub. They want to do whatever it takes to save it. Keep in mind that plants are 80 percent water.While there are many things one can do, the most important thing is to supply your plants with water in times of drought.When it doesn’t rain for days on end, some plants just won’t make it without supplemental watering. Sprinklers will work but they waste much more water than some type of drip method of watering. Water that is applied slowly and gradually has much less potential for evaporation than water that’s applied through overhead irrigation.Water sprayed through hot air is obviously going to evaporate more than water entering the soil directly by a dripping method.Not everyone can afford a drip system, but soaker hoses have improved to the point where they are almost as efficient as the expensive drip systems used by commercial plant nurseries. These soaker hoses are available at a reasonable price at most home improvement stores.One thing I have noticed over the last several years is a new type of soaker hose. Most of these new types are made out of nylon, which allows them to be flattened and rolled up in a way that is much more compact than the porous, rubber types.Often soaker hoses don’t last long simply because people won’t take the time to store them properly. This nylon material makes it much easier to store the hose when it’s not in use. It also makes it easier to wind the hose through whatever plant material you are trying to water. Besides being physically easier to wind and bend, the nylon material won’t crack like the porous, rubber types often do.Damage to a tree or shrub caused by drought stress becomes a permanent part of the plant. If that type of damage is allowed to occur repeatedly over a number of years, eventually the cumulative effect becomes more than the plant can handle. At that point, the plant dies, no matter what you do.If you have a favorite shade tree that took years to grow, then heed this advice: Don’t let it suffer from drought. A soaker hose ringed around the tree can provide lifesaving water to the tree during times when it needs it most.
FRANKIE Dettori landed a 150-1 treble to finish Royal Ascot on a high as the leading rider.It started with Campanelle (9-2) in the Queen Mary Stakes before Alpine Star (9-2) took the Coronation Stakes.The treble was completed with a second Group One win of the day thanks to Palace Pier (4-1) for John Gosden in the St James’s Palace Stakes.It saw the 49-year-old move onto 73 Royal Ascot winners – the same mark as the late Pat Eddery.“To equal Pat Eddery’s record is special,” Dettori said.“I sat next to him for 15 years, he was one of my heroes; his nickname was God so it gives me great satisfaction.”But Dettori was denied in the day’s third Group One when Kevin Stott took the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Hello Youmzain for his biggest career win.It was the first part of a memorable day for Stott who won the following race, the Wokingham Stakes, on Hey Jonesy, trained, like Hello Youmzain by Kevin Ryan.And there was history made as 150-1 outsider Nando Parrado, ridden by Adam Kirby and trained by Clive Cox, became the meeting’s biggest-priced winner in the Coventry Stakes.Dettori’s treble charge kicked off when the inexperienced Campanelle gave American trainer Wesley Ward his fourth win in the Queen Mary, holding off the challenge of Sacred to score by three-quarters of a length.The daughter of Kodiac, who only made her debut at Gulfstream Park at the end of May, turned in a thoroughly professional performance to lift the Group Two dash for two-year-old fillies over five furlongs.Speaking from his Keeneland base, Ward said: “We were narrowly beaten last year and we’ve had some near misses this year, so we needed that.“The owners are big supporters of mine, they obviously had Lady Aurelia with me, and with Frankie, who rode such a brilliant race – it’s great.“My assistant has done a great job, I’ve such a great team, and words can’t describe how I feel right now – it means more given this is not a normal year.“I had such high expectations for this filly and she came through. To win the biggest race of its kind shows how good she is.”Trained by Jessica Harrington, Alpine Star’s four-and-a half-length win in the Coronation Stakes gave Dettori a complete set of Ascot Group One wins – 30 years after his first Royal meeting winner.“Now I can say I have really conquered Ascot completely now,” he said afterwards. “It’s a big tick in one of my boxes. I’m delighted for all people concerned.”(BBC Sport)