How often do you Water?

mary_maxJune 26, 2006

Is a daily watering of the flower garden too much in this hot summer weather?

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janetr(Ottawa USDA 4a)

That depends on too many factors to be able to answer easily.

If the soil is dry 2 or 3 inches down and the plants are suffering, water. If they're lovers of dry soil, let it get dryer.

Do you mulch?

Janet's Garden

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 10:28PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

I water daily.....if it hasn't rained. I don't water everything....but I start with the pots and go on to hosta and astilbe, tomatoes and anything newly set.
I slack off after about the middle of August....unless it's really dry!
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 10:40PM
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Thanks for the feedback on this. I just love to water by hand even though the beds are on the sprinkler system. I think it is my time to spend looking at the flowers and seeing how they are doing. For some reason it is just so much fun to get up take my coffee outside and start to water the flowerbeds. Anyone else like doing this too. Only on occasion do I let the sprinklers do the job for me.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 11:31PM
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Mary, I love hand watering too. I have a wand I put on the end of my hose. This way I can water the ground instead of the leaves of the plants. Quite often I'll water very late at nite. I'm a 2nd shift person and I don't get home until 11:30pm. I love doing it at this time...if the mosquitos aren't bad! LOL!! I normally only water once a week though. I mulch and give them a deep watering. Last summer we had only a trace of rain from mid June until mid Sept. I still only had to water once a week. I have several gardens and since it takes me so long, I usually do only a few at a time. So I am out there a couple of times a week. I just love it at nite. I take a flashlight and quite often deadhead while watering. I think with one of my gardens I'll have to have a soaker hose. It just takes up a lot of time for me to do all of them by hand.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 2:08AM
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janetr(Ottawa USDA 4a)

I actually water as little as possible. I mulch too, and we get a fair bit of rain over the summer, so I just do spot watering for new shrubs and the like most of the time.

It's one of those win-win situations. I get to be lazy and at the same time be environmentally responsible.

The potted plants get watered more often of course. But I put wadded newspaper in the bottom of the pots, so even they don't need watering very often.

Janet's Garden

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 11:10AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'm glad to see a contingent of people who like to water! It's TOTALLY a zen thing for me, and always has been. I even have a little booster pump for the back yard (where the big beds are) that increases the water output. ;-)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 1:42PM
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I live in a coastal location and it is generally quite humid here, mist and fog are commonplace and rainfall is generally predictable and regular throughout the seasons. We do have irrigation in the perennial beds and the vegetable garden, but we don't use it very much... only in times of extreme drought.

The only things I water regularly/routinely are the windowboxes and a few planters. I have to coddle the "captives"; I feed them every time I water. Annuals are little Nitrogen junkies. In general, I water about once every 5-7 days, more if it's hot, sunny, or windy, and less if it's overcast and humid (this season so far!).

Most of what I have in windowboxes and planters is in partially shaded/shaded areas, too. I let the front windowboxes get a bit drier than the northern ones as geraniums and trailing vinca tend to like that. The Impatiens and Browallia in the northerly boxes prefer moister conditions generally.

Watering depends so much on your climate. My experience in coastal Maine will be leagues away from your's in Utah.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 4:04PM
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I've been watering some of my plants almost every day unless it rains and the ground gets a good soaking.

I transplanted some roses in late May and they are still struggling, I think a couple are dead. Because they looked so scraggly, we scattered some wildflower seeds until the roses take hold better (hope they do). That area faces south and has white cement blocks from the foundation behind it so it really cooks. I can't mulch because of the randomness of the wildflowers.

I like that wand idea, and will try to get one, but am watching the money and it all adds up.

All you night waterers. I'd rather water in the evening when the sun doesn't hit the plants, but I've read so many people say to water in the morning. So I do that sometimes, depends. Getting the leaves wet so much doesn't seem like such a good idea which is why I like that wand idea.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 6:43PM
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After spending the last twenty years watering greenhouses for hours every day, the last thing I want to do is water outside. It's limited to the first two weeks after planting and potted stock. I try to plant things I don't have to water often. The water on my systems come from my own well and spring. I don't waste it. Sometimes beds are healthier for not watering for the fun of it. The plants be stockier, less apt to need staked, and less prone to foliar diseases. I guess my answer is, I water when it really needs it.....the plants will tell you.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 9:44PM
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ornata(London UK (8/9?))

I'm with JanetR and Calliope on this one. Both water and my time are precious resources. Here in the South-East of England we've had really dry weather since last spring. Reservoirs are very low, and we have a hosepipe ban that will probably remain in place for then next few years. Watering has to be concentrated on container plants, anything newly planted and those plants that really suffer in dry weather (e.g. Hydrangeas, tree-ferns, etc.) I mulch thickly with pulverised, composted bark - it gets worked into the soil and has to be renewed each year, but this means it serves a dual function as mulch and soil conditioner for my heavy clay soil. Replanting with drought-tolerant plants is not an option, because the heavy soil will spell death to many of them over the winter months.

Something I read recently in the RHS magazine cheered me up. The author pointed out that watering in the garden is only rarely done to prevent a plant from dying. Often it is done out of habit, or because many of us aspire to those images of lush, verdant foliage and green swathes of lawn.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 8:18AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Another problems that arises with hand watering (or even irrigation systems) is that many people don't realize how much of water is needed just to get through a good mulch layer into the soil. Unless you are really putting plenty of water down, the soil may get very little benefit.

That's one of the reasons we use the pump and really good nozzles. With our clay soils and a near drought situation going on here, good hand watering is critical. I water the big perennial beds twice a week, deeply. Some of them are wilting by that 4th or 5th day in this heat. ;-( If it rains an inch, no watering.

My neighbor waters several times a week, but she is really only syringing the the surface, but doesn't realize it.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 1:55PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

I consider watering recreational! I would rather wander around in my gardens with a hose than play tennis any day! Perhaps I put down more water than is needed, perhaps I am making "water dependent" plants, doesn't's recreational activity for me.....and for sure the hosta love it!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 9:23PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

LOL, Linda! Just like Robert! I've been known to turn the water off just to get him to come inside for dinner! ;-)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 11:09PM
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I'm a hand waterer also, even with an extensive sprinkler system. The smaller planters get watered sometimes once a day, and the large ones every other or third day. I do have a few large garden areas planted with plants that need alot less water and those usually only get watered once a week, despite high temps.

I do the majority of my hand watering in the early evenings. It's hot and very dry here and I grow alot of tropicals that need the extra watering so those often get watered once a day. My VDH rigged a PVC pipe sprinkler system that is attached to our back fence so that it will hit high most of the ornamental bananas, elephant ears, gingers, and brugs and cool them down. When the temps are 100+, which is usually the case during the growing season, my favorite thing to do is hand water.

It sure saves going to a therapist! My husband sez I'm not happy unless the temps are over 105 and I have a hose in my hand. I love to sit on the back patio and watch the late afternoon sun sparkle thru the spray when the sprinklers are on. And to watch the hummers dancing thru the drops and the other local birds come in for a shower to cool off.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 7:59PM
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kristal(3b MN)

I, too, like to water by hand. I don't have much space, so it doesn't take me that long. I like to be able to control the flow to individual plants and avoid those who are already taking over their allotted space. I water my pots daily, if no rain, and the newer transplants first, then use my judgement on the rest. I've been meaning to chop up a hose and make my own drip irrigation system, but I can never seem to get around to it, and I don't mind watering myself.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 7:56PM
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Rhizo, Please tell me more about the booster pump. Our city water pressure is very low and it takes so-o-o long to water all my containers. I have well over 100 including my tropicals which are outside for the summer. Some of my large pots contain a 6 foot tree plus small vine or shrub plus groundcover...I love to play with textures and form with hardy plants like we all do with our mixed containers of annuals, but that means a really crowded thirsty root system.

Just now I'm having to water every day, (98 degrees F for the last 2 days), but only my container plants. The heat really bothers me so I go out at sunup...even so the past couple of mornings have still been in low 70's...just doesn't cool down much overnight.

Found a great lightweight aluminum and plastic wand this spring at Lowe's which has about six settings...from gentle bubbling to really fierce hard stream. Plus you can adjust the head from straight on to straight down or sideways. Really helps get down to roots of a bushy plant particularly like Erythrina which is full of vicious prickles. LOL There's a small gadget on handle which you use to keep water flowing or shut off completely. Less than $10 as well as I remember...seems better quality than the one I'd been using.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 2:54AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Josh, I will get the details about the pump when my husband gets up. Sounds like you would find one of these pumps useful. But, I must warn you......I had one of those same watering wands from Lowe's and it was not able to take the water pressure. Blew the head off, lol!


    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 7:59AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Josh, the booster pump is a .5 horsepower pump, not real sure what kind, but probably centrifugal. It boosts water pressure up by 80 (or more) pounds. So if your water pressure is already (say) 75, you're output would be 80 pounds plus the native 75.

Makes short work of getting a helpful amount of water to large areas, as long as you have the kind of attachments that can handle the pressure. We hook up a heavy duty impact sprinkler for the lawn (if no rain) about once a week in hot weather. The perennial beds are done twice a week by hand (if no rain) in hot weather.

Container plants are not watered with the pump.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 8:30PM
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Rhizo, Thanks so much. Sounds as if it would definitely be too much for my needs, but enjoyed learning there is such a thing. Never thought about it but guess this is what large farm irrigation systems must use.

Always enjoy your posts. josh

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 2:46AM
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I, too, find watering to be relaxing, at times, but to be honest, I'm not all that crazy about lugging a hose, or watering cans, around the yard. There's just too much stuff to water. Therefore, I only water when it's necessary - ie. when the soil is dry.

As far as my pots go, I don't water them everyday unless they need it. If the soil is dry, I water.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 10:10AM
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You water when the plants are dry. Just like you drink more water when it's hot than when it's cold, or in the winter or summer, or when you've been exercising or get the point. Watering by the calendar or clock just is not logical.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 10:07PM
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