Watering correctly is critical to plant health. The soil should be moist, but not soaked. Specially-designed watering tools provide a gentle, rain-like spray.

How to Water Correctly

Watering home landscape and garden plants properly is one of the most misunderstood problems facing the average gardener.

If landscape plants are water-stressed during the summer, they may experience severe problems during the rest of the year, such as increased insect and disease susceptibility and decreased winter hardiness.

Vegetables, bedding plants, and perennials are usually small when planted and have comparatively shallow roots. These plants may have to be watered more often to ensure a consistent water supply. If the plants are allowed to wilt a few times, growth will be retarded and harvest yields reduced. Be careful not to overwater.

Plants in containers need special attention. Both volume of soil and total water available for plant use are limited. These plants have to be watered more often than plants growing in the ground. Watering should begin when the soil surface feels dry to the touch, but not before. Frequency and amount of water depend on media, location, amount of sun, temperature, type of plant, etc. Containers which have been allowed to completely dry out may need to be soaked in water to rewet the soil.

A plant which uses a lot of water, such as Fuschias, or one that is potbound, may have to be watered daily or several times a day. But for most container-grown plants, a thorough watering once or twice a week will be sufficient. Plants in plastic or solid containers will have to be watered less often than plants in porous containers or clay pots. Be very careful not to keep the root system constantly soaking wet. Pathological (disease) problems will occur if air is excluded from the soil.

Trees, shrubs, and landscape plants should be watered just inside and outside the dripline, or outer edge of the plant. In foundation or border plantings, it may be more convenient to water the entire area. A hose, soaker hose, or various kinds of sprinklers are commonly used. For deep-rooted trees, a root needle or fertilizer feeding needle (minus the fertilizer) may be used for deep watering. This is a tedious process but it works. Penetration is important.

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Correct Watering

Watering your plants correctly.