Watering practices play a vital role in keeping your garden healthy. Efficient watering conserves one of our most precious shared resources. The keys to success include: provide the right amount of water; water in ways that provide the most benefit to individual plants; and, water in ways that avoid waste.
Determining the Right Amount
- Get to know your soil to determine how much and how long to water. Sandy soils retain less water than clay soils.
- Add compost to help sandy soil retain water and clay soils to drain.
- Both over-watering and under-watering cause problems for plants.
Best Watering Methods
- Group plants together based on their watering needs.
- Water only when soil is dry below the surface. Check with your finger or a soil corer.
- Directly water the soil, and not the plant foliage or tree trunks, by using drip irrigation or soaker hoses on both landscape beds and food gardens.
- Use rotating or oscillating sprinklers to deliver water most evenly on lawns.
- Mulch bare soil.
- Water in the early morning to reduce evaporation.
- Water just the root zone of your plants. The roots of most trees and shrubs are in the top 24 inches of soil, most annuals are in the top 12 inches, and most lawns in the top 6 inches.
- Simple, inexpensive timers added to all drip, soaker hose and manual sprinklers ensure that you do not need to rely on memory alone to shut them off.
- Automatic sprinkler system settings should be adjusted frequently as the weather changes, and be equipped with rain sensors and other water-saving devices.