When the summer sun is sizzling, don’t let your summer plants fry! Proper watering is perhaps the most important aspect of gardening -- especially during the hot, summer months. Making sure your garden and landscape plants have plenty of water is a must if you want healthy, gorgeous flowers and tasty homegrown goods. Use these tips to maximize your watering potential and keep your crops hydrated.
Watered plants: Never plant a dry plant. If you are planting seedlings or transplanting a plant into a new location, always water the plant thoroughly before planting to give it a good, healthy start.
Focus on the roots: Remember that it's the roots that need access to water, not the leaves. Wetting the foliage is a waste of water and can promote the spread of disease. Soak the ground for several minutes to ensure deep penetration to the roots of plants. The best rule of thumb is to provide deep watering once every few days or once or twice per week.
Water when needed: Water only when needed. Water timers are a great invention, but you should not be automatically watering your lawn and garden, regardless of the weather. Too much water can be just as damaging to plants as too little water. Be alert and weather wise to know the current temperatures so you can take care of not just yourself but also of your lovely plants. Also, water frequently enough so that plants do not wilt and begin to look like they are dying. If this is the case, you are not watering often enough.
Water deeply: Always water deeply and thoroughly as lawns concentrate their roots in the top 6 inches of soil; for perennials, shrubs and trees, it's the top 12 inches. In some cases, it may take hours to get moisture down to a depth of 6-12 inches.
Use Cool Water: If you use a garden hose that has been sitting out in the sun, allow the water to run for a minute or two before watering your plants. Make sure that the water you use is cool and not hot from the sun. And you thought you are the only one who needs a cool shower in hot summer.
Watering time: The time of day to water depends upon the air temperature. Early in the day before the temperature becomes too warm is the usually the best time for watering when nights are cool. Do not water late in the day or when nights cool off drastically. The cooler overnight temperatures can mean the water won't evaporate from the plants, thus staying on the plants overnight. This could promote rot or attract pests like slugs. The best time to water is during the early morning hours. A 6am start is ideal. Drink coffee...water plants!
Add mulch: Add mulch to all plantings, including veggies, shrubs, trees, etc. Mulch retains moisture in the soil, regulates soil temperature (cooler in summer, warmer in winter), decomposes into the soil over time to increase soil health, and gives your garden a finished look.
Water the entire garden: Water every corner of your garden! Make sure you have the proper hose lengths to reach every area of your garden. Add a water wand to the hose to get the water where it's needed most, i.e. at the base of the plants.