When summer weather heats up with no sign of rain, gardeners hook up the water hose to give their thirsty landscapes a drink. It seems like a simple task, but there are some ways to ensure you get the most from your efforts.
Plants benefit more from occasional heavy watering than from frequent shallow watering. Water equal to about 1 inch of rain penetrates the soil to a depth of about 6 inches which is enough to sustain most plants for a week. Light watering generally wets the soil to a depth of only an inch or less. This top inch of soil may hold some of the plant’s roots, but it will dry very rapidly. That means the water is not available to the plant for very long. It is much more effective to water less frequently and more thoroughly. During hot weather, some plants will wilt toward the end of the day — this is normal even if the soil has enough moisture. Look at plants in the morning for signs of drought stress (wilting, cupping of leaves, rolling of grass blades) and apply water when these signs are present. Wait until the next morning if you only see these signs at night.