As with all living things, plants require water to live. How much water they require, however, depends on a number of factors. Knowing when to water and how much water each plant receives is an essential part of gardening. Proper watering of your plants promotes healthy growth and better yield. Too little water and your plants may die from dehydration and too much water can lead to disease.
You should water your plants deeply, causing the water to actually reach deep down into the soil. This technique allows your plants to develop deep, healthy root systems that will allow them to survive better in drought conditions. You may want to create a well around the base of your plants by mounding soil and forming a ring where the water can go and then soak into the ground. Watering your entire garden uniformly will also promote even growth and prevent the unnecessary use of water.
Some plants only require water for one growing season. These types of plants usually develop deep root systems and can receive all the water they need from rainfall or from deep within the earth.
Using mulch in your landscape can also help. Mulch retains moisture and prevents your garden from drying out. If watered properly, even in the middle of summer the bottom layer of mulch near the soil should remain moist. Pine bark, grass clippings, and straw are all great mulches to use in your garden.
Efficient watering is very important, especially if your community is observing watering restrictions. If you have an irrigation system, ensure that you also have a timer. This will let you water when you want to and for a specific amount of time. Grouping plants that need the same amount of water together will make your watering more efficient. You may also want to use soaker hoses which place the water right at the soil level.
Watering in the early morning is also very important. Early watering allows the water to get into the soil before evaporation due to higher temperatures occurs. You also do not want to water in the evening, because evaporation may not occur at all and the excess moisture can lead to disease problems.
You can also help your soil retain moisture by using the appropriate soil amendments. You can use peat moss, leaves, and manure to enhance the richness of your soil. If you live in a drought-prone area, you should also choose plants that require less watering.
Keeping your garden properly weeded will also reduce the amount of watering needed. Weeds compete with your plants for water. By eliminating them regularly, the plants you want no longer have to fight the weeds.
Wind can also play an important factor in how much you need to water. Wind causes water to evaporate more quickly and doesn’t allow the water to get to the places it needs to go. If gardening in a wind-prone area, you may consider planting a row of trees or tall shrubs to act as a wind barrier to your garden.