Watering- To Be or not To Be
Although the Spring rains have been plentiful as of late we gardeners need to always keep in mind the watering of our plants in order for optimal success. Seems simple right? Have a plant or two or a bazillion and just sprinkle them a bit every now and then. Things will be fine. Well, not exactly, having owned a landscape design firm I came across my fair share of issues regarding the correct way to water and the amount of water that plants need to succeed.
Unintentionally we tend to inflict abuse on our plants whether they be indoors or outdoors. I have been asked countless times by both clients and friends, “What is wrong with my plants?” Only to witness time and time again droopy leaves and rock hard soil. “Looks like it needs water” I would respond only to be told that the plants were watered. Sometimes we forget and sometimes we just take for granted that it is 95 degrees outside and that wetting the top of the soil four or five days ago is not sufficient. Now of course there are different requirements for certain types of plants , but even “drought tolerant” plants do not like to be bone dry. Remember that plants don’t have the ability to stop off at the local mini mart to get Gatorade when it is crazy hot out and they feel parched. When it’s hot out we adjust ourselves accordingly. We need to keep that in mind regarding our plants as well.
It is best to water plants very well and deeply less often than it is to just spritz the top of the soil fast and frequently. The top of the soil dries quickly and the moisture at the top draws the roots up instead of downward. A good rule of thumb is to stick a finger in the soil around the base of the plant. If it feels dry then a good watering is needed. Of course as we mentioned earlier that different plants can have varied requirements and we can get much more specific regarding that, but this is a good general guide for better success and happier plants:)
- Thomas McTaggart