Most gardening problems stem from moisture issues, says expert

They say there's good stress and bad stress. The same goes for your gardens, according to expert gardener Brian Minter, who has some tips for keeping trees and gardens healthy on hot summer days.

'It can go wrong so quickly, just by not really paying attention to a few details,' says Brian Minter

Waiting until soil dries before adding more moisture can prevent plants from developing fungus or stressing due to over watering, according to master gardener Brian Minter. (Nathan Swinn/CBC)

Meteorologists are forecasting a summer of swinging temperatures: high highs and wet lows.

Too much heat or direct sunlight can be as stressful for your trees and flowers as it can be for your skin.

Expert gardener Brian Minter has some tips on how to keep plants and gardens safe during heat waves.

Most issues moisture related

The most important thing, said Minter, is to water effectively.

"It can go wrong so quickly, just by not really paying attention to a few details," he said.

Trees, for example, can transpire hundreds of litres of water each day, according to Minter.

"That water is coming from somewhere, it needs to be replaced," he told Michelle Eliot, guest host of B.C. Almanac.

But where you put the water matters. Watering the trunk of a tree directly does nothing for the root system, which is located around the broader circumference of the tree.

Instead, he said watering the roots is more important and prevents the roots from rising to the surface in search of water.

"Push that water down as deep as you can," said Minter, adding the same technique is important for root vegetables in the garden.

But it's also important to avoid over watering plants. Minter said he consulted with experts who estimate 80 per cent of the major issues people have with plants come from either a lack of water or over watering.

He suggests picking up pots when possible to feel the weight of them. A heavy pot still has enough moisture, and gardeners should wait until the soil dries before adding more water.

"When you have the soil saturated, the oxygen disappears. The roots can't breathe. They start getting in trouble. It activates a lot of the not good bacteria and they start destroying the roots as well."

To help gardeners adhere to water restrictions through the dry season, Minter suggested using rain barrels to gather water.

With files from CBC Radio's B.C. Almanac