Watering Tips

Soaker hoses are a great way to water and walk away.

Most of a plant's absorbing roots spread 1 1/2 to 3 times as wide as the plant's foliage and are within 1 foot of the soil surface. It is important to water the entire root zone each time you water. Apply enough water to wet soil at least 1 foot deep and 3 times its spread.  Water should be applied only as quickly as it can be absorbed by the soil. Applying water too quickly causes erosion, wastes the water, and compacts the soil surface. The soil should be allowed to briefly dry out between watering. The weather, plant maturity, plant type, soil type, and irrigation method are all key factors how frequently to apply water.

Rapitest for all your soil testing needs.

Guidelines for optimal watering of plants:

  • Apply three to four inches of mulch applied around plants (make sure not to smother plant trunk).  Mulch will keep soils cool, reduce water loss through evaporation, and discourage weeds.
  • Control weeds.  Weeds compete for your plant's water.
  • The best time to water is in the morning or late afternoon when air temperatures are lower than at midday, reducing evaporation. Watering at night is not recommended.  Evening watering can lead to plant disease.
  • Expand the area you water as the plant grows.
  • Newly planted trees and shrubs require 1” of water per week throughout March and November.  Water 3 times per week with one of the following means
    • Place a standard hose near trunk and let run for one hour on slow trickle, or
    • Use sprinkler or soaker hose for at least one hour
  • Check soil frequently to determine water absorption.  Dig small hole about 6 inches deep and check saturation.  Dry soil indicates insufficient water and mud or standing water indicates too much water.