When it comes to garden maintenance, one of the questions people often ask is, ''how often should I water my garden?'' There's no hard and fast rule when it comes to watering, but a variety of factors come into play.
Before watering your garden, check the soil. If it's wet or soggy to the touch, your garden isn't thirsty just yet. However, if the soil is almost dry, it needs a drink. Make sure you don't let the soil dry out completely as this will do more harm than good.
It's also important to consider the type of soil in your garden. Sandy soil holds less water than clay soil, and dries out faster. Clay soil is heavier, which means it holds moisture for longer.
How often you water your garden also depends on the climate where you live. If you're in an area that has hot, dry and sunny weather, you may need to water your garden more frequently, let's say once a week.
If you live in an area that's cold and has frequent spells of rain, it's recommended that you water your garden every two, or even three weeks. Remember, the soil determines whether or not your garden needs water so always check it.
Know your plants and their watering needs. The type of plants will dictate when and how often you should water them. For example, if you're growing rainforest plants that are used to high volumes of water, they'll need water every day.
- Larger plants need more water than smaller ones
- Plants that have shallow root systems such as vegetables, bedding plants and several types of perennials often require daily watering, especially in warmer climates
- Take care with potted plants, particularly if the pot has no drainage holes. If you over-water them, a pool can form at the bottom of the pot. Before watering, poke your finger in and check the environment below
The amount of light your garden gets is a huge factor in how often you'll need to water it. Plants need light to grow and flourish. However, as with everything else, too much of a good thing can be bad.
If plants in your garden are getting too much light, the petals begin to dry out, the colours start to fade and the entire plant droops. When monitoring your garden, watch out for these signs and give your garden the care it needs.
How much water should I give my garden?
Deep watering encourages deeper and stronger root growth. A general rule of thumb is to water your garden about 2 inches once a week.
Watering more often but shallower can lead to weaker root growth due to evaporation. However, gardens and plants vary widely in their water needs. For example:
- Young seedlings have limited root systems. To ensure they're getting the moisture they need to thrive, they may need to be watered daily
- Plants that have more extensive root systems, such as established shrubs, need less water. You may only need to water them during extended dry spells
Carefully monitor your garden and water it when it needs it.
What should I use to water my garden?
A soaker hose is the ideal watering tool. Soaker hoses deliver water slowly, close to the plant roots.
What time of day is best to water my garden?
Early in the morning is the best time of day to water the garden. Itâ€™s still cool outside, which allows the water to run down into the soil and reach the roots of the plant, before excess water is lost to evaporation.
However, daily schedules can make early morning watering difficult so the next best time is late afternoon or early evening. As with early morning, it's cooler which means water isn't evaporated and plants get what they need.