One of our largest frustrations as landscape professionals is to convince owners to pay attention to watering. All plants need water to survive. Time and money can be saved with just a little attention to proper watering practices. It is a basic fact that without water or with too much water all life fails. The following are a few tips on how to be a good waterer…
Get to Know Your Plants
When your soil feels dry an inch deep, then it is time to water. Just put your finger in the soil, and go to the first knuckle. If your fingertip feels moist, then you have some time. Some areas are high and hot, other low and wet, still others feature trees and shade, while some might be wide open and exposed to the drying sun. All have different watering needs. Take a walk through your garden and check out your plants. You do not truly know them if you do not visit them.
Get to Know Your Soil
Knowing what soil consists of is the first step to understanding your plants. Soil has a big impact on whether your plants and grass grow in a healthy environment. Soil is made up of particles, water, and air. The particles are from the weathering of whatever rocks are found in your area. This is where sand, loam, and clay become a factor. The type of lawn soil that most people lean toward is a loam soil. Loam soil consists of basically equal amounts of sand, clay, and organic material. This soil is perfect for absorbing those all-important nutrients and moisture. Clay is probably one of the hardest soils to overcome. Maintaining a clay based soil can be difficult because it often dries out and hardens.
Get to Know Your Watering Needs
Nothing is stupider than the way people water. People water too much, too often, at the wrong times, and the wrong way. Not only does this waste a valuable and increasingly scarce resource, it also makes your plants and lawn look worse by increasing disease, insect, and thatch problems. The single biggest waste of water and cause of pollution is run-off from unmonitored watering. More is not better. You want to water just enough to enable water to soak in, and sometimes that requires a little help. Try watering very lightly for a longer period of times. Try wetting the top soil then brush it away with your hands to see how far it sunk in.
Watch the Weather
Plants sweat just like people it is called “guttation” . Guttation happens when plants take in excess water from the soil, but don’t evaporate it through their stomata (or pores) because those close up at night. Technically this evaporation is called transpiration. Weather affects transpiration just like sweating. The hotter the nights, the more plants transpire. Heat and humidity make plants sweat through their leaves, drying them out and putting them at risk if water isn’t replaced in a timely and efficient manner. Generally we do not need as much watering in the Spring but by the time we hit July soils are drying up, the rains are slowing down and the plants could likely use a good drink.
Adjust Your Irrigation System
You can literally save thousands of gallons of water in your landscape, and save your plants from drowning, with the proper setting of your irrigation controller. But you can’t just set it and forget it. No single setting will deliver the proper amount of water throughout the three distinct different Cincinnati area growing seasons. Without making seasonal adjustment, you are guaranteed to over and under water throughout the year. You need to change the watering schedules as plants become established, with the changing seasons and when it rains.
Make Watering Easy
If I have one suggestion to suggest for easy watering it is to have a free line on your irrigation system and spigots placed every 75 to 80 feet. Keep a 100 foot coil hose at the location and that will give you access to water whenever and wherever. When a plant needs water you can grab the hose or fill a watering can and spot water right where it is needed. No one likes doing things that are difficult or frustrating. If you take a nice leisurely walk throughout your landscaping you could turn a chore into a relaxing experience. Making it an easy task to water a wilting plant.
We promise if you practice these habits religiously, you will find a definite improvement in the health and vigor of all your plants.
Call the pros at Outer Image Outdoor Services to help you get your landscaping done right the first time! We help our residential and commercial clients with their landscaping everyday all year ’round!
Contact us (859-689-0076) for a free consultation!