You’ve invested time and money making your yard beautiful. Now that summer’s hottest weeks are here, a good watering regimen is key to keeping your trees, shrubs, and flowers healthy. But there is more to it than you might think, even if you have a green thumb. To help you water the right way, we’ve created an easy-to-follow guide on when, how often, how much, and even what time of day to water to keep your plants healthy and thriving.
Success starts with understanding the specific watering requirements of your plants. There are many factors that influence the water needs of your plants, including plant type, stage of growth, soil type, the hours of sunlight your yard receives, and even what direction it faces. If you are not familiar with the watering requirements of your landscaping, or you need additional guidance beyond the tips below, be sure to reach out to a plant care professional like your local tree service—we can help.
The Do’s: Tips for Proper Watering
There is much more to proper watering than just turning on a hose or a sprinkler. What’s more, properly watering your plants can help to ward off disease, ensure they produce lush foliage and blooms, and contribute to water conservation.
#1 Do practice deep watering
Deep watering soaks the soil to a depth of several inches, making water more readily available to plants and promoting the growth of a healthy root system. This can also make plants more drought resistant. Also, be sure to frequently and deeply water newly planted trees, perennials, and shrubs to help them develop a hardy root system. Avoid rapid delivery of water with the aggressive use of a hose or a sprinkler; it is difficult for plants to absorb a deluge (the same is true of a sudden downpour over a soaking light rain).
To water deeply, opt for timed drip irrigation, soaker hoses, or a sprinkler set to a light, soaking flow. Duration and frequency will depend on plant type, needs, and the weather in your area. As a general rule of thumb, water deeply two to three times weekly for a total of 45-60 minutes.
#2 Do water at the base
In general, water at the base of your trees, shrubs, and plants. This ensures water gets to the root system, minimizing evaporation and maximizing efficacy. In addition, some plants must be watered at the base to minimize certain diseases (these include hydrangeas and lilac bushes, among others). Foliar diseases can be spread from plant to plant, affecting your landscaping. If you notice signs of malformed or damaged leaves and branches, reach out to a certified arborist for a diagnosis and treatment options.
#3 Do water in the morning
Watering your yard and flower beds in the morning can help to protect plants. Foliage will dry during the day, which will minimize the risk of fungal disease. In addition, morning watering gives your plants protection during the hottest part of the day.
#4 Do check your plants
Get into the habit of monitoring your plants for signs of water stress such as drooping or wilting leaves. Water deeply at the base if you notice these signs; it’s amazing how fast a plant will revive.
#5 Do mulch your beds
A layer of mulch can help plants to retain soil moisture and better regulate temperature, even during the hottest days. Mulch also helps to suppress weed growth. Trees should be mulched, too: mulch should be spread in a ring around the tree but not mounded at the tree’s base.
Investing in a rain barrel can help to reduce reliance on your local municipal water supply. Some local programs even offer rain barrels for purchase at a discounted rate. Reach out to your local administration for more information on your area.
Monitoring the weather in your area can help you determine how much, when, and how long to water. Extended dry spells or abnormally heavy rains will adjust your watering routine. Some gardeners invest in a rain gauge to help them fine-tune their watering.
The Don’ts: Avoid These Watering Mistakes
It’s just as important to understand what not to do when watering your outdoor plants.
#1 Don’t overwater
Overwatering unnecessarily stresses your plants and can introduce disease, including root rot, foliar fungus, and pest overgrowth. In addition, waterlogged soil can contribute to nutrient leaching. If you use an automated system like a smart sprinkler or a LinkTap, be sure to adjust your programs for rainfall. (Nothing looks as silly as a sprinkler system going in the rain.)
#2 Don’t water at midday or in the evenings
Watering during the hottest part of the day can be wasteful, as water is lost to evaporation—bad for both the planet and your watering bill. In addition, watering in the evening will contribute to prolonged leaf wetness, which can increase the risk of fungal disease.
#3 Don’t do superficial watering
As described above, deep watering encourages robust root growth, but shallow watering will leave plants more vulnerable to drought.
#4 Don’t water when it’s prohibited
Many municipalities prohibit watering on certain days or between certain hours, and guidelines may change for summer. Failure to follow the watering guidelines for your area can get you into hot water with your municipal government.
Looking for more guidance on how to water your specific plants properly? We can help. Advanced Tree Care combines top-notch equipment, cutting-edge technology, and well-trained staff to provide emergency tree removal and tree maintenance services. With a presence in nine counties and two states, we work daily to provide unparalleled customer service, safety, and efficiency—as well as the expertise to beautify your landscaping and community. Advanced Tree Care isn’t just our name—it’s also our purpose!