How Much Water Should I Give My Plants?
Gauging how much water your garden needs can be difficult, as there really isn’t a “one size fits all” answer. Weather, soil type, light, and type of plants influence how much you should water, and they’re all different in every garden! However, there are a few tips that can help determine a watering schedule for your own garden.
How Often Do I Water?
Keep a close eye on newly planted perennials and shrubs, especially throughout the first growing year. Most early plant loss is due to too much or too little water! The goal is to keep the soil moist, but not soaking wet for the two weeks after planting. The best way to learn how to do this is by getting your hands a little dirty and feeling the soil. For the first couple of weeks, water when soil 2 inches below the surface is dry to the touch. After that, check the soil once a week, and water if it is dry 3 or 4 inches deep.
There is a strategy for how often to water! Encourage deep root growth by watering deeply with less frequency. Roots will “chase” the water and penetrate deeper into the soil profile, helping the plant access deep water and nutrients reserves. Watering shallow and often will lead to an overall weaker root system. A good rule of thumb is many perennials grow well with 1 to 2 inches of water per week from natural rainfall, or from irrigation.
Tip: If you want to get more specific, check out our blog on how your soil type influences how you water!
There are many different ways to water your plants, including the old reliable watering can. One of the best ways to water perennials in dry summer regions is with water-conserving soaker hoses. Water drips slowly from the hose directly onto the soil right around plant roots for several hours. The water then moves down through the soil to plant roots without any waste, and the tops of plants stay dry, thus reducing the chance of disease problems that occur when plant foliage stays wet.