Outdoor Plant Watering Tips
Plants are in need of water checks regularly. Especially during hot and dry weather. This includes all annuals, and newly planted shrubs, perennials, and trees. Established plants will need watering depending on their water needs but they may not need watering as frequently.
Even when we are getting frequent rain, plants in containers, and newly planted plants with shallow roots need to have their water checked regularly. Not all soil types, locations, rain fall amounts, and plant water needs are the same.
1. Check soil moisture by putting your finger a few inches down into the soil. If it feels cool and moist then your plant is probably fine on water. Containerized plants may need to be checked twice a day on really hot dry days and if you notice your plants are using up the water more quickly or it’s evaporating quickly.
2. Mulch over bare soil that is over your plants roots. This will help reduce water evaporation and keep the ground a more consistent temp.
3. Water low. Water under the foliage to avoid excess moisture that could cause fungal disease. Water in the morning if you can, especially if you water with a sprinkler system to let foliage dry out before the sun goes down.
4. Water deeply when you water. When you water deeply this helps the roots reach down into the soil and create healthy root systems. Believe it or not a great time to water is right after rainfall especially if you know you didn’t get an inch of rain. This reduces your water usage and gets water deeper in the soil without needing to water as much. Water slowly as well. If your hose is pouring water out fast, the water is going to run away from the root zone and not soak in where you need it. Remember the saying “low and slow” for your watering technique.
5. Don’t fret over midday wilt. If plants are wilting midday don’t automatically water. Check the soil for moisture first and this will help avoid over-watering. There are plants that adapt to the hot weather by temporarily wilting and perking back up in the evening. If you keep soil soggy all the time, your plants roots can’t breathe and lead to root rot. It is an ebb and flow of wet to almost dry for most plants to help oxygenate the soil and roots. Plants like succulents and cactus prefer completely dry soil in-between watering.
6. Invest in a watering system that works for you! If it means getting another hose, watering can, a drip irrigation system, a rain gauge, or teaching a child how to water plants for you, you will be thankful you did! We understand watering can get frustrating and time consuming when busy and especially if you’re new to gardening and not yet familiar with each plants water needs in your environment. Generally garden plants need an inch of rain a week.
7. Read about plant care tips if you are heading out on vacation here!
Once you get the feel for watering and as your plants become establish, it becomes much easier to manage. Droughts are becoming a frequent occurrence each summer so it’s important to invest in a watering system that works for you and conserve water when you can.