Your guide to watering outdoor plants
And why more isn’t always better
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. Too much moisture can be just as damaging as too little.
But no pressure, right? Actually, it’s really not that complicated once you master some basics. So let’s empower some serious watering success:
1) WATER ONLY WHEN NEEDED.
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 and your site location:
Trees and Shrubs:
Soak well (down to the root ball) for 30 minutes with a slow trickle 2-3 times a week from spring until the ground freezes. We usually recommend doing this for the first year.
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.
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 (every day in hot weather). If it’s dry, water until it runs out the bottom.
2) USE THE RIGHT WATERING TOOL.
Sprinklers can really be a waste of water and are really for lawns, they mostly wet plant foliage rather than roots (where they need it). So, we recommend watering with a soaker hose, a Gator Bag for trees and shrubs or a targeted drip irrigation system.
3) 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.
4) FOCUS ON THE ROOT ZONE.
Remember, it’s the roots that need the moisture, not the leaves. Watering foliage wastes water and can promote the spread of disease.
5) WATER DEEPLY AND THOROUGHLY.
It’s much better to water less frequently but deeply/thoroughly. This encourages longer and stronger roots. Refer back to #1 for more details.
6) MULCH BECAUSE IT DOES SO MUCH MORE THAN LOOK NICE.
We’re all for the curb appeal mulch adds to your property. 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. On new plantings pull the mulch away from the trunk to the size of the pot so it creates a saucer effect, this will ensure the water reaches the root zone.
Have questions or want to know more about best watering practices? Please stop in or give us a call at (603) 472-8880.