Here are some things to consider when deciding on how and how often to water:
- What type of soil you have
- Plant material
- Trees & Shrubs
- Annuals & Vegetables
Soil type is a major factor in determining how much water is necessary.
- Clay soil is hard-packed and difficult to saturate when dry, but stays moist a long time once wet, and it puddles with too much water. The density of clay inhibits root development. Add peat moss, gypsum, and Espoma Soil Perfector to loosen clay soil.
- Sandy soil is loose, drains quickly and compacts when wet; it dries very quickly. Add Fafard Premium Natural & Organic Compost to make the soil more organic and retain water better.
- Loam is composed of clay, sand, and organic matter, it holds water well, drains well, has good aeration and promotes good plant growth. This is the soil we work in to create our gardens.
On level or slightly inclined sites, make sure that newly planted material has a water-catching saucer of soil around the base which can be mulched to hold in moisture.
On hills and slopes, dig into the hillside to create a terrace-effect, so soil around plants will not erode. Use a slow trickle hose or soaker hose to water deeply and prevent erosion.
TREES & SHRUBS
Water newly planted trees & shrubs thoroughly at regular intervals throughout the first growing season. It takes a lot of water to reach down and soak a root ball 1.5’ to 2.5’ below the surface. Use a soaker hose or a garden hose at a tiny trickle. Water slowly and deeply until the entire root ball is saturated, once or twice a week, depending on the weather.
Also, water small plants that are near large, established trees and shrubs more heavily. Their smaller root systems have difficulty competing for available moisture. Older trees and shrubs rarely need watering unless they have been damaged, stressed in some way, or in a drought.
Perennials are less deeply rooted than trees and most shrubs, but they still need deep watering for proper root growth and strong flowering. Avoid early loss or disfigurement of blossoms by watering only the roots, not the foliage. Soaker hoses are best for this. One to two inches of water per week in one application in generally ideal, unless there are drying winds or intense heat. Mulch plants to hold moisture and keep down weeds.
ANNUALS & VEGETABLES
Annuals and vegetables do best when watering at soil level, not onto foliage. This techniques cuts down on disease and prolongs the life of both flowers and fruit. You can use soaker hoses, trickle-method irrigation or trench watering.
Hoses conserve water while sending moisture to roots without puddling; they also combat heat stress by keeping soil cooler.
The results are healthier plants with more flowers and higher yields. Trenching requires digging troughs between beds, flooding them, and allowing water to soak down slowly and deeply. Hamptons Estate Natural or Hamptons Estate Black Mulch will keep down weeds and retain moisture between waterings or rain.
Water lawns in the morning so the grass will dry before dark. This discourages mold spores and other diseases which thrive in moist darkness. Water 2”-2.5” every 4-7 days, depending on your soil’s structure and the weather. This practice encourages deep roots and a drought-resistant turf. If you use automatic sprinklers, make sure they are not set for frequent, shallow waterings – grass roots will only grow near the surface causing sun burn and weakness towards pests and diseases. If you have new sod, keep it evenly moist until it resists tugging. When roots have taken hold (about a month), a regular deep soaking once per week for 1-3 hours should be adequate.
The only way to determine if your property is getting enough natural moisture is to use a rain gauge. (An empty tuna or cat food can or measuring cup placed in the garden will do.) One inch of rain will fill the can. One to two inches of water per week, in one application, is excellent during summer weather for most plants, with the exception of new plantings. In cooler weather or drought conditions watering should be adjusted accordingly.
TIPS TO REMEMBER
- Mulch to retain moisture and keep down weeds.
- Water all in one application rather than short, frequent waterings.
- Water in the early morning, rather than evening, to prevent disease
SOME OF THE PRODUCTS WE RECOMMEND FOR PROPER WATERING
- Hamptons Estate Natural & Black Mulch
- Terra Verde Soaker Hoses
- Dramm Sprinklers
- Deco Rain Gauge
- Dramm Water Wands
- Melnor Automatic Timers
Our knowledgeable and friendly staff is available to answer any watering questions you may have.