One of the basic gardening tasks that often gets pushed to the wayside is the process watering your plants. Many are under the assumption that proper watering requires little to no thinking, and that most crops can be accommodated with a “one size fits all” strategy. This simply isn’t true.
Luckily for novice and advanced gardeners alike, changing how much water your plants receive to a suitable amount is amongst the easiest things to alter in your routine, but it can have some of the largest results. Factors including plant species or type, time of day, how long it’s been in the ground, what kind of soil you have, and where it sits in its maturity cycle all play important roles when determining how much water a plant requires.
Because we view ourselves as a helpful, informative database for all things plant-related, Dr. Willard’s has decided to compose a list of watering tips you can add to your own gardening habits.
Tip #1: Investigate the soil that inhabits your garden.
Sandy soils tend to drain more quickly than other types, but this isn’t a problem necessarily. It starts to become one when the water drains too rapidly, giving roots no time to absorb it, robbing them of essential nutrients both from the water and the soil itself. Clay soil, on the other hand, tends to drains more slowly. This is cause for concern when your soil fails to drain fast enough, oversaturating root systems and effectively drowning plants. Vital processes, such as moving critical gases from the air to the soil, can be interrupted and stop completely if soil drainage is greatly hindered as well.
An easy fix for both types is to add a copious amount of compost to your soil. Organic material will stabilize polarized dirt – in the case of sandy soil, it will help slow down water drainage, and with clay it’ll open things up.
Tip #2: Focus on watering the area nearest the roots.
It’s obvious that plants absorb water through their roots, but these systems can expand 6-8 inches deep and just as wide, and can be deeper or more shallow depending on the plant. It’s your goal to keep this 6-8 inch cube of land moist as often as possible. Hydrated plants are less likely to wilt and experience stress due to the lack of water.
Tip #3: Add PlantCatalyst® to your routine.
Like all living things, plants require basic necessities to survive – nutrients, water, air, and sunshine. With Dr. Willard’s PlantCatalyst®, plants don’t settle for merely surviving – they start thriving. Multiple studies conducting tests on over 100,000 plants have shown firsthand the beneficial properties of using our natural product, including larger plants, bigger blooms, stronger stocks and more expansive root systems, greater resilience to stressful environments, increased yields, and larger fruit and flowers. PlantCatalyst® works on the cellular level, opening the door for increased water and nutrient absorption, retention, and utilization. Because your plant is able to use these basic necessities more efficiently, results have shown that, despite higher yields, it actually requires less fertilizer as well. Save yourself some money and do your garden a favor – add PlantCatalyst® to its diet.
Tip #4: Water before mulching, not after.
Mulch is a fantastic way of keeping water in, but it’s also pretty good at keeping water out. Dig out any weeds or unwelcome plants (roots and all), water the soil thoroughly, and then add mulch. Not only will this stave off water evaporation, it’ll make sure weeds have a hard time sprouting up. It’ll take a little longer than usual for water to reach the deepest parts of your roots, but after 1 or 2 watering sessions, plants will adapt to the change.
Tip #5: Leaves are not to be trusted in midday sunshine.
Plant leaves are not always the greatest indicator of water shortages. When temperatures are at their hottest during the middle of the day, plants wilt back their leaves, exposing less surface area to the sun and conserving as much water as possible. To the average gardener, this will appear as if your plants aren’t receiving enough water. Before you go to grab your hose, though, you should wait to observe your plants when it’s cooler outside. If the leaves are still drooping in the early morning or late evening, then you can increase their water supply. If the plants look better, there’s no need to modify anything.
Tip #6: Recognize the different watering needs each of your plants require.
Recently transplanted crops tend to need light, frequent watering to accommodate their infant root systems. More developed plants don’t need as much maintenance. The current stage in their maturity cycle also has an effect on how much water they should receive – flowering and fruit formation causes plants to need constant watering. You should also take it on a case-by-case basis – tomatoes, for example, will actually lose flavor if they receive too much water as the fruit is ripening. Carrots and cabbage need to be weaned off heavier water dosages as they approach harvest time – too much can cause the vegetables to split.
Tip #7: Water during the early morning, later afternoon, or evening.
Cooler temperatures and more mild sunshine results in less evaporation. This is particularly important if you employ the use of overhead sprinkler systems. Your water bill will certainly appreciate the increased efficiency, but you need to be careful about watering too late into the evening. Leaves may remain wet after the sun goes down, which can encourage certain diseases to sprout up.
Watering can be a touch-and-go process. We tried to include information relevant to both beginners and experts, and we hope you learned something. We know we certainly did!