About 75% of all plant-related problems are due to watering with over-watering being the biggest culprit, but with a few simple tips and the right tools, your plants can thrive even during the hottest and driest months of the summer.
When watering annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs, it’s important to get the roots completely wet when first planting. After that, watering depends greatly on the amount of rainfall. You can easily determine if your plants need to be watered again by sticking your finger into the soil. If the first couple inches of soil are dry, it is time to water again. Typically, trees, shrubs and most perennials can withstand a little bit of a dry spell. Annuals however are much more sensitive and can die very easily from a lack of water. All plants are the most vulnerable during the first few weeks after planting before roots are fully established. This is the most crucial time to ensure your plants get enough water. It’s a good idea to check your gardens once a day, especially during dry spells. A good rule of thumb is for your plants to get a good soak every 3-4 days either from rain or watering. This will help ensure your plants are getting water regularly, but aren’t being over-watered. Excessive watering can lead to disease and death of the plant.
When watering plants, overhead sprinkling isn’t the most effective method. A lot of water evaporates before it wets the roots and wetting the leaves can cause fungus and disease. Try to focus your spray at the ground and the base of the plant rather than spraying the top of the plant.
If you are planting a new bed and mulching, plant your plants a couple inches above the ground level, then water the plants before you mulch to give them a good soak, then soak one more time after applying the mulch. This maximizes the amount of moisture your plants will receive because it won’t all be soaked up by the fresh mulch, and by planting them a few inches above the ground, you are also minimizing the amount of mulch on top of the root ball.
A watering wand, multiple-spray setting nozzle, tree gators, soaker hoses, and timers are all great tools to help you water your plants easily and effectively. A watering wand is good for hard to reach plants like window boxes or hanging baskets. A standard multiple-spray setting nozzle is good for general watering of all plants and the various settings can help you control water flow.
Tree gators and soaker hoses are also great tools for trees, shrubs or garden beds. Tree gators are large bags that can be installed around trees. Once the bags are attached to a tree, you fill them with water using your hose and then the water slowly drains from the bag over the course of 2-3 hours, giving the tree a nice, gradual soaking to maximize water absorption. Soaker hoses are hoses that can be laid around your planting beds to water your plants. By placing your soaker hoses on a timer, all you need to do is turn on the hose and walk away. The hose will automatically turn off after the amount of time you set on your timer. Watering with a soaker hose is about as easy as it gets!
All of these tools are available for purchase at Bedner’s and a greenhouse associate would be happy to help you determine which tools are best suited for your specific watering needs.
Watch our Watering Tips Video below.