Many people question whether or not they are watering their plants and turf correctly, especially if they are just starting out with their garden or have struggled with the health of their plants in the past. If you don’t know what to look for, it is a good idea to do your research. Here are some of the best tips to follow when you are working with plants and trying to ensure that they are as healthy as possible, for as long as the season and weather will allow. Just keep in mind that every lawn and garden will vary with the type of plants that they have.
Know the Type of Plant
Does your garden consist of mostly flowers? Vegetables? Most plants require different amounts of water and will thrive best when these needs are cared for properly. If you are working with flowers and vegetables, you should pay specific attention to these and know what they need before planting them. If your main concern is your lawn, it is slightly easier to determine when to water the grass. Most grass will turn a dull, sickly green color when it needs to be watered, just before it goes dormant. This will be the most crucial time to water.
Consider the Amount of Sunlight/Shade
If plants are growing in more shade, they will obviously need less water than other plants. Shade prevents the water from evaporating too quickly for the plants to use. It is still a good idea to water these plants, however, just water them less frequently, for shorter durations, or provide less water than normal. If the plants are in constant sunlight, you will need to soak the roots with water to ensure that they get enough of the water before it is absorbed back into the atmosphere.
Keep Track of Natural Rainfall
Most plants, especially grass, will need anywhere from ¾ of an inch to an inch and ½ of water every week. It is average for most to need one inch of water weekly. You can keep track of rainfall by placing containers outside that will help you see how much is actually falling, invest in a rain gauge, or watch the weather station and follow reports. Keep in mind to subtract the amount of rainfall from the amount of water that you give your plants every week. For example, if you receive a half an inch of rain for the week, only provide your plants with an additional half an inch of water.
Time of Day to Water
One of the most important things to remember is that the time of day you water your plants will have a huge impact on the health of your plants. Watering all night long through a sprinkler system seems to be common, but it is actually not a good idea. You should also never water your plants between eleven in the morning and three in the afternoon; this will put too much stress on the plant during the heat of the day. The best time of day to water is around six in the morning, and as late as ten in the morning; if you are unable to do this time, aim for later in the evening when evaporation will be slower, such as five to seven o’clock at night.
It is always an option to consider purchasing a sprinkler system. This makes watering your plants more time efficient, less strenuous as you have less effort to put in, and it can make sure the dispersion of the water is even. However, you need to consider the stream of water that your sprinkler puts out. If you have freshly planted grass seeds, you should avoid harsh streams of water that could wash these seeds away. Plants that have a good root system in place will be able to handle more water.
People who are often away from the house at the times their plants need to be watered, or would rather sleep in, as well as those who tend to be forgetful, may find it useful to invest in an automatic timer for their hoses. They are not often too expensive, and it can be helpful to have one. Different models available will water for a specific amount of time or will start and stop at specific, set times.
Although irrigation systems can be more costly than sprinklers, they often work better, especially when it comes to getting water to the roots. It is necessary to water the roots, rather than the foliage, in order to ensure that plant is absorbing all that it needs to. These systems are more professional and are not as difficult to set up as many people fear, making them a great choice.
What to Watch Out For
Keep an eye on your plants. Overwatering them can be fatal, and watering should not really be done more than twice a week at the most. In many places, natural rainfall is enough to account for what plants need. Additionally, do not water your plants overnight as this invites mildew to grow and can make lawns and gardens ill. The same is true if you apply too much water to the foliage or petals of your plants; plants only need water on their roots to survive. Finally, make sure that you watch the colour of grass and leaves on plants because they will lose their colour when they need more water to thrive.
These tips and suggestions will help to keep your garden and your lawn healthy throughout the entire season. You will not need to pay much attention to the amount of water for your plants until after June when the weather starts to grow hotter, and rainfall will be less frequent. As long as you try avoid overwatering, prevent the spread of mildew, and watch the colour of your plants, they will grow healthy and strong until they reach the end of their life cycle for the season.
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