In my first article of the series Proper Watering Practices, I discussed some details about things that can influence how you water your plants and lawn. For example, I covered the different soil types you will encounter as you maintain your lawn and garden and how they can affect your watering routine.
In this article, I will discuss how certain types of plants, trees, and shrubs should be watered.
Know Your Plants
Particular plant species have different cultural requirement concerning where they are planted and how they are maintained. So expert gardeners suggest that you take the time to study the species of plants you have so that you know what they require.
Experienced gardeners suggest that proper watering practices include thoroughly watering newly planted trees and shrubs at regular periods throughout their first season of growing. Keep in mind that it takes a lot of watering to get moisture down to and soak a root ball of a tree. After all, it is 1.5-feet to 2.5-feet deep. So it is advised that when you perform proper watering practices you use a soaker hose or a garden hose that is only trickling out the water. The water should be applied slowly near to the roots of the plant and permitted to drop deep into the soil until the root ball is soaked. The watering should take place once or twice a week, depending on the weather.
Make sure that you water small plants that are near large established trees and shrubs more during your proper watering practices. These plants need more water because they are in competition with the larger plants for the moisture. Older trees and shrubs seldom need watering unless they are injured, are stressed, or are experiencing a drought.
Perennials vs. Annuals vs. Vegetables
Your garden probably has both perennial and annual plants. Perennials last as long as two years. Annuals last for a season.
Experienced gardeners point out that perennials have roots that are not as deep underground as trees and most shrubs. However, they need deep watering for proper root development and to assure that the plant is strong. It is best to water the roots of these plants so the blossoms are not lost or disfigured. Use soaker hoses and water the plants about one to two inches per week. One session will suffice unless there are drying winds or intense heat. Put mulch around these plants to hold moisture and prevent weeds.
Annuals and vegetables thrive when watered at soil level. This helps to prevent disease and prolongs the life of the flower as well as fruit. Again, experienced gardeners use soaker hoses, drip-trickle irrigation or trench watering. This assures that water is being sent to the roots without puddling and help to battle heat stress because the watering method is keeping the soil cooler. You will have healthier plants with more flowers and higher yield.
If you decide you want to trench water, then you will have to dig a trench between beds and then flood the trenches. This permits the water to slowly soak down and deep. You can add mulch to help prevent weeds and to retain the moisture between waterings or rainy days.
Water the lawn in the morning so grass will dry before dark and apply 2-inches to 2.5-inches every four to seven days depending on soil structure and weather. This assures the development of deep roots and helps the turf resist drought. You can use a sprinkler, but don’t set it for frequent shallow watering. Frequent shallow watering will cause the grass roots to grow near the surface and could result in sunburning and make the lawn susceptible to pests and diseases.