One of the questions that I get asked quite often is: When to water?
That's a tough question – when to water what? Water lawns? Water trees? Water vegtetable gardens?
As a landscaper, I am acutely aware of the need to water plants appropriately. Lawns, in particular, really should only be watered twice a week. That watering should be a deep soaking that will promote deep root growth — giving the lawn a better chance of survival in hot, dry weather.
Trees, especially when they are newly planted need the same type of deep watering so they can develop healthy roots. Once the trees are established, in dry conditions (like the ones we are currently having) they can benefit from an occasional watering.
Although we’ve all seen countless commercials of people watering their gardens with a sprinkling from a watering can, if you water a vegetable garden every day for five minutes, you train it to have shallow roots. A vegetable garden should be watered every other for a longer period of time, say 10 minutes, at the base of the plant, so the water goes to the roots. Vegetable gardens should also be mulched. Mulch keeps the weeds down and keeps the soil as cool as possible in the heat.
Perhaps you’d rather not do your own watering. Perhaps you’d like to install an automatic irrigation system. But if you do, please don’t be one of those people who runs their irrigation systems in the rain. It’s such a waste of water.
It’s also not good for the plants.
As a species, we seem to think too much of anything is better. Not so with watering plants. Plants need to be thoroughly watered and then they need to be allowed to dry out. They need to breathe. If you water them too much, their roots begin to rot. They can also start picking up fungus.
There’s no need for irrigation systems to run in the rain. As a landscaper, I spend a fair amount of time setting up these systems, and I can tell you that there’s no need to them to run on the same schedule from April to October, all season long — nor should they. When I set up an irrigation system, I spent a lot of time educating my clients about how to use them appropriately. What you want to be is proactive.
Being proactive means being hands-on. You are going to water more often in the spring, to get those new plants established, and then you are going to ease off. If things get very dry, as they are now, you may want to add more watering times. It’s easy to do. And if we have, for example, a rainy August, you definitely would not want your irrigation system running
I think of water as holy — in and of itself. Especially now, when most of the United States is in a drought. Water is essential to all life on earth, which is why it amused me to discover a cocktail called a Holy Water. To make a Holy Water, mix together
2 oz vodka
1 oz orange liqueur — Cointreau, Grand Marnier
Put that into a tall glass over ice, and fill it with tonic water. Add a dash of grenadine syrup, and serve while the tonic water is bubbling.
To your yard!