2018, July 2018, What to do in the garden

When do I water?

water me! 2

The dog days of summer are upon us and it’s time to check in with our chlorophylled friends to see how they are doing. If there hasn’t been any rain of significance, our plants would probably love some help, since in the heat, the moisture in their leaves evaporates and  the roots can’t take in water to replace it if the soil is dry.

Sometimes it seems like there has been a lot of rain, but when you actually check, only the very surface of the soil has any moisture to it. This won’t do the plants any good. Even if the top inch of soil is wet they will need additional water, because if their roots can only get water at the surface, that’s where they will develop, and the result will be a plant that is unstable and can’t fend for itself when the surface is dry but there is adequate ground water. Ideally, plants need about an inch of water a week, which equates to a deep watering.

“How on earth do I know if there has been an inch of water?” you ask. That’s a good question, especially since knowing how much watering to do is part learned, and part instinct. I usually recommend that people get a rain gauge, a container that collects the rain and is marked in inches so you can see how much has fallen. (For an example, click here) They are inexpensive, and take most of the guesswork out of rainfall amounts. You can also dig down between  the plants and see how the soil feels 6 or more inches below the surface, but a rain gauge is much easier!

Plants will often survive a drought, but they won’t thrive. So making sure that they have adequate moisture is an important way to protect your investment and to make sure that you garden continues to look its best. And if the plants are new, water is absolutely critical to their continued existence because they haven’t developed a deep root system yet.

Leonardo da Vinci got it right when he said, “Water is the driving force in Nature.” Happy watering!

 

watering 2
Have fun with it!
watering
It’s preferable to water the soil rather than the plant, but you can’t fault this young gardener’s earnest attitude!

 

5 thoughts on “When do I water?”

    1. I wouldn’t trust any app. If a building shelters an area, or there is a large tree, or an area is in a depression, or on a slope, or, or… the conditions can change. A rain gauge or fingers in the soil will give you site specific information that an app never can.

  1. ‘Gardeners’ are the worste about wasting water! Many of the trees that I inspect as they are succumbing to root rot are in lawns that are overly watered by so called ‘gardeners’.

    1. tree inspector! I am continually struggling to determine how much to water my new peach and apricot trees. how/when to prune. when/if to fertilize. can I hire you?

      1. Tree inspector is not actually a job title. I am an arborist, which means that I sometimes inspect trees, and instruct clients about the maintenance of their trees. However, I am in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz County.

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