What is the best time of day to water

partyprincessJuly 30, 2010

I am trying to learn to provide optimum care for my citrus trees. I would like to know what the best time of day to water is. I typically water in the evening after the direct sun is off of my trees. I am wondering if watering in the morning before the direct sun hits the trees would be better. I guess I am trying to figure out what time of day the roots are most able to take up water if that makes sense. Thanks in advance for helping me out.


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Morning Watering it seems is best as it is cooler, plus fungus, etc won't have as good a chance to produce because the sun helps keep this down. Evening is okay at times but it could allow the production of unwanted problems in the long run.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 11:52AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I try to water in the mornings, for the reasons Paul mentioned.
First, I want the plants and soil hydrated so the plant will be prepared
for the heat of day. Secondly, I don't want fungus or other issues developing
over-night while the
temps are cool and the plant is in a diminished state of activity.

If the day is very hot, I will occasionally water my containers to cool them midday.
If the heat is the real issue, I prefer to shade the container rather than apply
excess water.

In rare instances, I will very lightly wet the soil around my plants if I intend to
fertilize the following morning. This allows for a faster, more even distribution
of the fertilizer.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 12:43PM
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Thank you Paul and Josh. That is exactly the kind of information I needed. I will aim for morning watering to avoid fungus and be prepared for heat.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 12:52PM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

It is severely hot here, hotter than your area. I water in the late afternoon because I believe it cools the pot and soil down. But I have also done morning water routine and I can't really say it has made a lot of difference that I can see. The main thing, I believe, is consistency and not missing or being late on the schedule.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 1:04PM
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Thanks softmentor! I have been guilty in the past of waterinig too much and I was watering in the evening. I think I will stop watering in the evening and go for morning watering after I check with my dowels that they have dried out enough for water.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 1:45PM
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I too water in the am...Everyday..lol

Partyprincess, if your plants are in a gritty mix or the 5.1.1 mix, you shouldn't have to worry about using wooden dowels while they are outside in all that light and warmth...

Once they come in, that is a different story...Goodness, if I checked every pot my plants are in, it would take me a good hour or longer to water every plant..:-)

Using the gritty mix and the other is much more forgiving than most mixes and allows you to sit back and not worry about over watering so much, especially in the summer..

Hello Josh and everyone else..:-)


    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 2:22PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I think the best time of day to water is the time immediately before the onset of drought stress. IOW - it's better not to water on a schedule, but rather on an 'as needed' basis. Of course, I don't follow my own advice, but that's partially because the open and free-draining soils I grow in are much more conducive to watering on a schedule than heavier, water-retentive soils.

My daily schedule doesn't always allow me to water as I prefer, but if root temperatures are not a consideration, I would prefer to water in the AM. The reason is because plants use more water during the day and damp is better for roots than wet. Watering in the morning gives me more damp/less wet, while watering late in the day usually means the soil will be wet overnight & well into the day, so morning watering is probably better for root health. If you're one of those who feel you're not watering unless you soak the foliage, AM watering is also better because the foliage dries faster, which helps to ensure the incubation period for fungi you're trying so hard to provide isn't sufficiently long for them to multiply.

If root temperatures are creeping up to around that 90* mark, I definitely want to water during the heat of the day. The cool water initially reduces soil temps, and the additional evaporation helps to keep roots cooler until evening when shadows lengthen and it slows ..... but is also no longer required.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 9:39AM
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Thanks Mike and Al!

I have broken the habit of watering on a schedule. I water only when they really need water. I only have 5 trees so using the dowels is easy for me and keeps me in check as far as over watering. I think I will try to avoid watering in the evening. I am using fish emulsion/water spray on the foliage and I always do that in the early morning before the sun is on the plants.

I really appreciate everyone's help.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 12:03PM
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Hi partyprincess...

Great! You are welcome...Just remember to read up on whether FE feeds plants through the leaves or not in the container forums..I use it solely as an insect preventer, although many believe that it also fertilizes their plants..

Make sure not to rely solely on the FE for feed..:-)


    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 2:48PM
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I am using the FE for insect control only. I think it is helping. I am using Foliage Pro weakly each time I water.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 3:40PM
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Great Job!!! I am sure the scale, spider mites, mealies, thrips and whatever else lurks in dark places, just dying for a taste of fresh green leaf without the fear of getting smothered in smelly fishy oil will just love you,,lol


    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 3:53PM
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I love the smell of fish emulsion in the morning............it smells like victory (victory against the scale, spider mites, mealies, thrips, etc.)!!!!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 2:40AM
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