Water can drive a gardener batty. Watching the radar, dreading the water bill, sprinkling your way through an Indiana August… it can make a non gardener out of you.
Most of us get the idea that for plants to thrive, they need their water requirements met. And as soon as you see the word “requirement” on a plant tag you kind of glaze over.
So just how much water are you supposed to give? It depends on the plant of course, so proper ID is needed. Consult your books, magazines, and Google. Or to be certain, take a picture or stem sample to your local independent garden center.
Generally speaking, plants in the ground need an inch of water per week, if the rain doesn’t provide it. Keep in mind, July and August deluges mostly run straight into the storm sewer.
Every five to seven days, give the plant a slow soaking from a pencil thin stream of the hose anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the root ball. If it’s an evergreen, stretch it to every seven to 10 days. Test the soil moisture with your finger regularly. Until a plant or tree is established, which may well take several growing seasons, this should be your minimal routine.
Once a plant is established, keep an eye on it during extended hot and dry spells. If it starts to wilt a little, soak it. The thing is more plants actually suffer from too much water more than not enough. True story.
For instance when a container lacks adequate drainage for a potted plant, the plant is likely to suffer root rot. But bear in mind that a potted plant dries out far more quickly than one in the ground. Some need daily watering, depending on the material of the container, its size, and exposure to the elements. All need adequate drainage.
It’s a lot, I know. I warned about going batty.
But it’s worth it. Stay hydrated and garden on.