Imponderable Question Number Two: October 22, 2020

You can save plants with timely watering. But how do you know when that time has come?

“How often should I water my plant?”

Remember that I have labeled these questions as being “imponderable.” If you think about it, that means they may not have an answer.

So, I’m going to ask you an equally challenging question in return. It will serve as a part of my answer back.

How often should you take a drink of water?

Given that question in return, most folks would say that it depends on a lot of different factors. That list might include physical activity, temperature, training and so forth.

Continued Below

There is a parallel list that would apply to your plants. Frequency of irrigation would depend on the type of plant, temperature, soil type, sunny or cloudy conditions, wind, current rate of growth, health and vigor of the plant currently and other factors.

You might assume (correctly), if your soil looks like this, that it’s time to water your plants.

It’s safe to say that there is no accurate answer that would apply to all plants. In fact, there is no one answer that would apply to any one given plant year ‘round.

If someone had just known to watch for the subtle change from deep green to dull olive drab in these Nellie R. Stevens hollies (and the Asian jasmine below), they could have been saved with one deep soaking. Sadly, it’s impossible to replace hollies like this.

Really successful gardeners learn to “read” their plants. They learn to recognize early signs of drought. Those would include subtle wilting and perhaps slight changes in the color of the foliage.

They also learn to check the soil. Most do not use sophisticated soil moisture meters. Indeed, they learn to feel the soil on their own. They learn the variations between dry soil and moist soil. It all comes with experience of gardening, and that experience is critical to ongoing success.

It all boils down, then, to using common sense to determine when it’s time to water. And that common sense comes from the experience of seasons of gardening here in Texas.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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