Watering Plants

Garden Watering Techniques

Use rain gauges to make sure your sprinklers are watering evenly.

When watering your lawn and garden, remember that as a general rule, most garden plants and lawn grasses need an inch of water a week. The idea is to keep the soil lightly moist and to prevent it from drying out completely, which can be damaging to most plants. However, plants don't always follow the rules, so here are exceptions to this guideline:

  • Hot weather, dry sandy soil, or crowded intensive plantings or containers may require more than an inch of water a week.
  • When the weather is cool, the plants are widely spaced, or the soil is heavy and holds moisture well, less water may be required.
  • Young or new plantings require more moisture at the soil surface to help their budding roots get started. Water lightly and more frequently to accommodate their needs.
  • Mature plantings with large root systems can be watered heavily and less often than younger plants. The moisture soaks deep into the soil and encourages the roots to thrive.

Avoid watering disease-susceptible plants at night. If water sits on plant foliage for hours, it can encourage fungal diseases to attack leaves, buds, flowers, and fruit. Plants susceptible to leaf spots, fruit rots, and flower blights are best watered in the morning, when the warming sun will quickly dry the leaves and discourage fungus development.

Soaker hoses slowly release water all along the length of the hose. On the next page, learn how to use a soaker hose to water your plants.

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