To prevent your plants hanging their heads in summer, they need plenty of water. But how much, how often, water from above or below? Here you find some smart and helpful facts for watering your plants.
Rule no. 1: Keep evenly moist
Most plants depend on even moisture. However, slight drying out before watering promotes root growth of the plants.
Rule no. 2: Water more seldom but then thoroughly
In the flower bed, one to two watering sessions per week are usually sufficient: better to water more seldom but with plenty of water rather than a little water often.
Rule no. 3: Water late in the evening or early in the morning
When you water cooled soil in the evening or night then less water evaporates than as on hot soil during the day. And the plants can sufficiently supply themselves with water before the next day’s heat.
Rule no. 4: Keep leaves dry
Wet leaves become diseased leaves. Kept wet overnight, leaf-mould diseases may result. Leaves that are made wet in the sun develop slight burn marks (burning glass effect of the water droplets).
Requirement-suited watering means that the water must sufficiently reach the roots. Too-low water quantities often only cover the upper soil centimetres – or don’t even reach them at all, e.g. when there is a mulch covering of the soil and too little irrigation. Requirement-suited watering also means that crop plants are particularly dependent upon evenly moist soil in the time until their crops are ripe for harvesting (examples: the forming of roots and corms [carrots, potatoes], leaves [basil, field salad], heads [cauliflower, lettuce], husks [beans] or fruit [tomatoes, fruit]).
Rule no. 5: Give the right water quantity
Rule no. 6: Give larger water quantities in parts
Water needs a moment to seep into the soil. Before precious water in the bed flows away unused, it’s better to water repeatedly in parts.
Rule no. 7: Water with a target but distribute
Always watering at only one root point leads to one-sided root growth and thereby to poorer nutrient absorption in the soil. Therefore, always water around the plant and distribute in the entire irrigation area.
Rule no. 8: Irrigate in a way that saves water
Water as much as necessary and as little as possible. This is simplified with an automatic irrigation system with moisture sensor – in the bed, on the balcony and on the lawn.
Rule no. 9: Avoid waterlogging
Waterlogging suppresses the breathing air of the roots out of the soil – the root cells drown without oxygen.
Rule no. 10: Use quality, clay-rich soil
Plant soil rich in clay minerals has better expanding properties and can therefore hold soil in the water better and in a more even way. In wet summers and in winter, ensure water drainage to prevent waterlogging.
WHAT TO DO DURING A DROUGHT
- Spray Trees & Shrubs With An Anti-Transpirant
If pruning, only remove dead material from trees and shrubs, anything more will encourage new growth. This takes energy that a drought stressed plant cannot afford. Instead, spray leaves with an anti-transpirant or anti-dessicant to help leaves retain what moisture they have.
- Water Early
Morning temperatures are cooler and the sun is not as intense as later in the day so there is less moisture loss due to evaporation.
Also, water sitting on foliage will have a chance to dry during the day minimizing the chance of fungal infection, especially during humid weather.
- Water Slowly & Deeply
Watering slowly will allow the moisture to penetrate more deeply into the root zone rather than running off the soil surface. Create depressions or water traps around larger plants to hold the water where you want it until it can saturate the soil. Remember to water trees at the drip line, not at the trunk base, as this is where the roots are most active. Drip irrigation bags are excellent for watering newly planted trees.
- Water the Soil, Not the Leaves
Plants take up water through their roots. Water landing on the foliage will be lost due to evaporation. The more water you direct to the soil, the less you will waste. The key is infrequent, but heavy watering rather than light, frequent waterings. This encourages deep root growth, which increases drought tolerance.
- Conserve Precious Water
Place a rain barrel under downspouts to collect rainwater. Wash the car on the lawn rather than on the driveway. Reuse ‘gray water’, such as bathtub or dishwater and rinse cycle water from your laundry, to water your garden. Replace leaky hoses and sprinklers and use washers to correct leaks at fittings.