Don’t Sprinkle, Soak!
From your lawn to your vegetable garden, don’t sprinkle water and move on be a soaker! Water deeply and thoroughly, soaking the root balls and soil. Then, let the soils get close to dry, and soak them again.
How Frequent Should You Water
Less frequent but deep thorough soakings are much better for plants than a quick misting on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, frequent light watering can set up plants for failure during hotter and drier times. It forces the root system to grow near the surface of the soil (where the light watering reaches) rather than deep into the soil where the deep soaking reaches. Soak ‘em, let ‘em get close to dry, and soak ‘em again! And “soak ‘em” means the root balls and soil, not the foliage.
General Rule of Thumb
As a general rule, most established plants/lawns would like 1 inch of rainfall every 7-10 days. If this doesn’t happen, you need to supplement. The best way to know is having a rain gauge in your yard and measure the rainfall. You can also use that rain gauge (or any straight-sided small container) to calculate the amount of water you have applied when using a sprinkler. Otherwise, make sure your deep watering reach 4-6 inches down into the soil.
Watering Newly Planted Trees and Shrubs / Lawns
Plants not yet established will need more specific attention than the general 1 inch per week. These plants are pulling moisture from a smaller root system and may require more frequent soakings, depending on their newness, root ball sizes, and whether it was container grown or balled and burlapped. Again, soak the immediate root ball, let get close to dry, and soak again. This may require physically checking the root ball’s moisture levels each time before you water. You will find that container grown trees and shrubs will require more frequent soakings (due to the lighter planting mix) than those that were grown in the ground, dug, balled and burlapped.
Watering Your Containers
Being above ground, exposed on all sides, and having limited soil space, container plantings may require as much as daily soakings, but again, check before you water. To help reduce watering in the future, be sure to add Coir and Soil Moist to the soils (both waters retaining products).
Great Ways to Water
- Soaker hoses work great, but make sure they are on long enough to soak the soils 4-6 inches deep – and that can take a long time!
- Sprinklers (stationary and moving) work well, but again, monitor the amount applied each time you use them.
- Trickling hoses are great for slow soaking if you have the time to allow them to trickle the appropriate amount. Tree bags help to cut down on watering times, and Ross Root Feeders are a great way to inject the water into the soil or larger root balls.
Can I over water plants in the summer?
Depending on the soil and the plant, most definitely! That’s why we suggest soak ‘em, let ‘em get close to dry, and soak ‘em again. You should physically check each time to make sure the plants need to be watered.