Watering mystery

Watering plant and turf can be somewhat of a mystery; not all landscapes are created equal.

Some landscapes are well established, some newly planted, sun filled, shaded, different soil composition, and the list goes on. So many variables, not to mention natural rainfall, make it hard to have a hard set of rules.

What we know. Established plants have deeper root systems. To a certain extent, can provide for themselves. Additional water is still needed, however, older plantings will be far less susceptible to a couple of really hot days. Eventually, drought conditions catch up with the ability to provide for themselves. On the other hand, newly planted landscapes need much more attention.

How much water? As a general rule of thumb, turf and plants (to be well hydrated) need 1″ of natural rainfall or supplemental water per week. Water infrequently and thoroughly. Avoid light daily watering. Saturating the root zone helps develop a deep rooted plant, better to withstand periods of drought. Irrigation systems need periodic adjustment, based on the time of year and current season conditions.

When to water? Watering is best done in the morning, allowing the foliage to be dry by nightfall thus, minimizing disease potential.

Take the mystery away. Observe how much water your plants and turf are getting, especially during the hottest month. You could 1) Set up a rain gauge or a can the collects and measures water 2) Check the soil’s moisture by using a soil probe 3) Or simply, stick your finger 3″-4″ into the soil. Proper soil moisture will leave your finger slightly moist.

Most important take- away. A wilted plant can either have not enough water OR too much water. We tend to only think of not enough water and the poor plant sits in a puddle all summer long. That makes proper assessment is so important.