Watering seems like it should be simple, but why do so many of us get it wrong? While regular watering is one of the most important things you can do to give your plants a healthy start, it’s also the number-one reason for plant-related problems.
How do you cut through all the conflicting information around watering and get it right? We’re here to help.
1) WATER ONLY WHEN NEEDED.
But how do you know when they need it? The size of your plants and the weather largely determine how much you’ll need to water. Adjust accordingly for extra hot or wet weather.
Trees and Shrubs:
Soak well (down to the root ball) for 15-20 minutes at least once a week from spring until the ground freezes. We usually recommend doing this for the first 1-2 years.
Annuals and Perennials:
Smaller root systems can’t hold as much moisture, so give your small plants a good soak every 3-4 days from spring until the ground freezes. Again, adjust accordingly if you’re experiencing hot, drought-like conditions.
Pots and Hanging Baskets:
Because they can’t rely on ground water, pots and baskets dry out quickly. But you don’t want your roots to sit in water either. Check the top inch of soil in the morning every couple days (more often in hot weather). If it’s dry, water until it runs out the bottom.
2) WATER IN THE MORNING.
Early watering gives your plants time to dry before it gets dark, a practice that will prevent disease and pest problems.
3) USE THE RIGHT WATERING TOOL FOR THE JOB.
Sprinklers can be a waste of water when it comes to watering landscape plants. They mostly wet plant foliage, as opposed to the roots, where plants really need the moisture.
Consider a soaker hose, Gator Bag for trees and shrubs, a targeted drip irrigation system, or water by hand slowly and on a low setting that doesn’t displace the soil.
4) FOCUS ON THE ROOT ZONE.
Remember, it’s the roots that need the moisture, not the leaves.
5) WATER DEEPLY AND THOROUGHLY.
It’s a much better strategy to water less frequently but more deeply/thoroughly. This encourages longer and stronger roots.
6) ADD A LAYER OF MULCH.
Mulch is about so much more than just looking nice. Curb appeal is important, but we’re even more excited about the way a layer of good quality, organic mulch reduces surface run-off, seals in moisture and slows evaporation and cuts down on water-hogging weeds.
Added benefit: good mulch is made of organic matter that actually feeds your soil as it breaks down.
Have more questions on watering? Visit us in the garden center or give us a call at (513) 891-1040.