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Author Topic: Watering tips  (Read 4978 times)


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Watering tips
« on: July 22, 2014, 11:49:01 AM »

When it comes to watering, there are no hard or fast rules. It's a judgment call that depends on the type of plant, the soil, the weather, the time of year and many other variables. Fortunately, it's easy to figure out what to do : You just need to check the soil.

The Best Way to Water

Focus on the root zone. Remember that it's the roots that need access to water, not the leaves. Wetting the foliage is a waste of water and can promote the spread of disease.

Water only when needed. Automatic timers are especially useful; just make sure to watch the weather, and reduce frequency when rainfall is abundant. Too much water can be just as damaging to plants as too little.

Water deeply and thoroughly. Lawns and annuals concentrate their roots in the top 6" of soil; for perennials, shrubs and trees, it's the top 12". In heavy soil, it may take hours for water to percolate down 6-12". Use your finger or a shovel to check the progress. Seeds and seedlings demand moisture close to the soil's surface, but more established plants need deep watering to develop roots that will find water in the subsoil when drought strikes.

Water in the morning If you do get moisture on the leaves, this gives them time to dry out. It's much more difficult for plant diseases to get a foothold when the foliage is dry.water in the morning gives plants a chance to drink up before the hot sun or strong winds evaporate the moisture. This protects plants from wilting in the afternoon heat, too. If you can't water in the morning, try for late afternoon—but not too late; the foliage should have time to dry before the sun goes down so it doesn't develop fungal diseases.

Use the right tool For efficient watering at the root zone, use a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler.

Mind your mulching
Another way to keep your garden moist (and reduce weed problems by up to 90 percent!) is to top off your beds with a fresh layer of organic mulch. Mulching with materials like dried grass clippings, straw, bark, wood chips, and even small rocks will decrease soil moisture evaporation and reduce your garden's water needs. Bonus: Mulching may also prevent certain kinds of soil diseases from coming in contact with your plants' lower leaves.

  The best "moisture meter" to check the soil with your finger. For a more thorough investigation, push a spade into the soil near your plant and pull it back to see how the soil looks. If it feels moist to a depth of 6 to 12 inches, you're in good shape. If it's bone dry, water!
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Re: Watering tips
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2014, 03:34:02 PM »

Great advice Roze!  Since a lot of us grow in containers I thought I'd add the importance of watering thouroughly in them too.  You want to soak your plant until water comes out of the drain holes.  This flushes out any accumulated salts.  Then allow the soil to dry thoroughly before soaking again.

Some people get into the habit of watering in sips frequently.. not allowing the soil to ever dry (not good for roots) and/or allowing salts to build up. 
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Re: Watering tips
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2014, 07:30:00 PM »

Another tip for watering plants in pots... Put 1-2 Tablespoons of distilled white vinegar in every gallon of (hard or tap) water you give your plants.  It will stop (and dissolves existing) salts from building up in the pot, and it helps the PH level to be more like rain water.
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