Question of the Week – Number 1: August 22, 2019

I often tell folks they need to invest (less than $10) in a water bubbler so that they can turn the hose up full volume and water plants rapidly without washing out all their soil. Now you know what one looks like.

“How often should I water my plants?”

This question comes up this time of year in regard to vegetable crops, lawns, shade trees and almost any other plant you can think of.

It comes up in winter in regard to houseplants, dormant lawns and poinsettias.

And it comes up every week in between.

The sad part is that there’s never a really good answer. That’s because there are so many variables.

How often you ought to be watering depends on…

The type of plant involved;
The type of soil in which it’s growing;
The temperature;
The exposure (sun, wind, etc.);
The vigor of the plant and the time in its growing season;
The type of watering device you use and how long and deeply you water.

Compare it all to your own body. How often you want a drink of water and how much water you drink depends on how active you are, the temperature, your health and vigor, and the size and type of watering vessel you’re using when you do take a drink.

Continued Below

The best thing you can do is to learn to “read” your plants. They will give symptoms of when they need to be watered. Some, of course, wilt. Others, however, do not. They merely change colors from bright, glossy green to a dull, lifeless olive drab. That list includes hollies, junipers, ligustrums and Asian jasmine. You need to learn the subtle changes they make and be ready to soak them deeply when you first see them.

A word of warning about new plants…
New trees and shrubs that have been planted within the past 12 to 18 months will need special attention until they have developed roots into the adjacent soils. Sprinkler irrigation alone won’t be sufficient. That’s when a bubbler attachment to your garden hose will let you water really quickly without risk of washing out soil. Do that every two or three days for the first two summers they’re in your landscape.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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