The weather forecast is HOT, HOT, HOT.
Remember to water…it’s important to keep you and your pets cool, but remember that plants may need a little extra attention.
Proper watering is the most important factor for new growth, particularly for anything newly planted. Most people tend to underwater plants the first year. However, overwatering is just as detrimental to a plant’s long-term success.
Sandy and loamy soils require more water than clay. More water is required when planted during warm, dry weather than during cool, moist periods.
To check if a plant needs water, stick your finger down about 1½ inches into the root zone. If soil feels dry, water thoroughly with a stream of water until a small puddle forms. Larger trees and shrubs require longer, deeper watering.
For best results:
- Water in the morning or early evening, rather than midday when the water quickly evaporates;
- Check plants frequently, especially those that are in direct sun;
- Plants in containers dry out very quickly, so be sure they’re watered daily;
- Keep as much moisture in the ground as possible with a layer of mulch.
Our experts answer some of the most popular summer watering questions.
How much should I water?
Setting up a regular watering schedule is a great way to make sure your plants are getting the water they need, but do a quick finger check to ensure you aren’t over watering. Push your index finger into the soil around the base of the plant about an inch. If the soil is moist, you can skip watering. If it is dry, it’s time to water.
When is the best time to water?
Avoid watering your garden during the heat of the day. Give your plants a good drink in the morning or early evening. Watering in the morning allows the water to soak into the soil without evaporating or being blown away by wind. If you’re watering in the evening, make sure the sun is still out. The sun will dry the foliage and leaves and prevent fungus from setting in.
What part of the plant needs watering?
This may seem like a trick question, but it is important that the right parts of the plant get watered. Watering the root ball thoroughly is the key to providing your plants with adequate root growth and nutrients. Avoid showering the leaves and flowers while watering, this can cause disease and fungus growth.
How do I to water the roots?
When watering the root ball aim for moist, not soggy, soil. If the soil is too dry, water will start to puddle on the surface which you may think means it’s getting too much. Just wait a few seconds while the water absorbs, once the soil starts to moisten up it will absorb water more quickly. If you’re watering by water wand or hand, 30 seconds per plant is a good rule of thumb to ensure you’re giving your plants enough water.
Create a basin by making a donut-shaped ring of soil just outside the root ball of each plant and cover with a light layer of mulch. Fill the basin with water, this allows the water to soak down into the root zone of the plant instead of running away from it.
Help insulate the root balls and conserve water usage with adequate mulch. A 2-3 inch layer is perfect for preventing water runoff. Pull mulch away from the plant stems to avoid rot. Creating a basin around the plant base with soil when planting can help your plants get the proper amount of water.
- For sprinkler system watering, run each zone for a minimum of 20 minutes to ensure your plants are getting enough water. (Place a tin can on the soil below your plants to measure how much water is hitting the roots. If there is less than ½ inch of water, increase your watering time per zone.)
- If you notice browning leaves, your plants may be getting too much water.
- Most plants won’t show signs of heat stress until after a heat wave has passed. Monitor your plants water level often on hot days to avoid heat stress.
For more water tips and techniques, come by any English Gardens location and talk to one of our experts. Check out of a selection of watering tools to buy online. Visit your local English Gardens store to see our complete selection.
Watch our video for more Summer Watering Tips