Tips for watering ornamental gardens

  • Gardens should be soaked once a week rather than watered frequently.

  • Young plants should be watered immediately after transplanting. Soil should be soaked to a depth of 6-12 inches, and not again until the top few inches begin to dry out. If a hose is used, use a proper soaker line, bubbler or sprinkler head or a watering can to avoid soil erosion.
  • Timing water applications is important. The best time to soak or drip irrigate is a cool evening when the soil has all night to absorb the water. Use a sprinkler in early morning to prevent rapid evaporation. The worst time to water is mid day, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., on a sunny day. Rapid evaporation of the water results in poor use of the resources and time of the homeowner. Watering during windy conditions is also not advised as excessive evaporation may take place. Any watering that wets foliage can increase disease damage if the foliage remains wet overnight. If you must use overhead sprinklers, water the gardens in the morning or early afternoon so that foliage will dry before nightfall.
  • Plants vary in their water requirements. Those with large succulent leaves may need more water. Plant age is also important. Ornamentals that are half grown, but in the midst of vigorous growth, need more water than plants that are mature.
  • Eliminate weed growth. Weeds use water that should be used by plants.
  • Place mulch between plants to reduce evaporation. Mulch can be compost, straw, shredded newspaper or grass clippings. Use small amounts at a time. Too much at one time can cause mold and rot problems. Run water slowly and allow it to soak in to the ground to root level.
  • Put a drip/trickle system in place to supply individual plants and conserve water.

  • Assure even, steady growth by applying proper amounts at ideal times for optimum quality. Excess water can cut production.

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