What’s Up With Watering?
All plants need water, and new plants need the most as they’re getting their roots established. But how to water sustainably? We have some ideas:
Collect rainwater: Plants love rainwater, so set some 5-gallon buckets out when we’re expecting a good rainfall to collect it or add a rain barrel or two to your downspouts. Mother Nature knows best, we always say.
Water first thing in the morning: This is when your plants can absorb the water for the warm summer day ahead, minimizing evaporation and water waste. Plus, foliage dries quickly, helping prevent fungal diseases.
Water deeply and less often: Sprinkling water around every day doesn’t do much good, and can often just be a waste. Aim for deeper, less frequent watering and your plants will settle in quickly.
Don’t water if it’s not necessary: If we’ve had recent rain, check your plants before watering. They may not need it for another day or two!
Water is a precious resource needed by all living things. If you care for a yard or garden, you can help protect water resources by being wise about watering practices, starting in your own backyard.
Much of our treated drinking water is also used for landscape irrigation, so it pays to reduce water use and protect our supply by being wise about landscape watering practices at home.
Although all plants need water to be healthy and grow, some—like lawns—actually need less water than we think. While others—like trees—need more.
Knowing the what, when, where and how of watering in your garden or landscape is key to growing healthy plants and conserving our precious water supply.
Tips for maintaining healthy garden beds
What to water: Choose plants that will thrive in your existing soil type, light, space.
Know which plants require consistently moist soil and those that prefer drier conditions.
Note microclimates: dry shade, windy areas, poor drainage.
When to water: Early morning to allow leaves to dry and reduce foliar diseases.
Feel the top 6 inches of soil. Dry? Time to water.
How and where to water: Water the base of plants to avoid getting leaves wet and reduce foliar diseases.
Layout soaker hoses or drip irrigation in early spring as plants emerge.
Water deeply and less often to promote deeper, healthy roots.
Conserve water: Collect and use rainwater.
Choose drought-tolerant plants that require less water.
Add 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch to conserve moisture in the soil and protect roots.
Amend soil with compost to increase soil’s water-holding capacity.
Tips for maintaining healthy shrubs and trees
- Select drought-tolerant shrubs:
- alpine currant
- smoke bush
- gray dogwood
- common bearberry
- black chokeberry
- Select drought-tolerant trees:
- amur corktree
- Kentucky coffeetree
- tree lilac
- bur oak
- American bayberry
- Newly planted shrubs and trees require regular watering until they are established.
- Apply water to the root ball once a week.
- Water established shrubs and trees when the top 6 to 9 inches of soil dry out.