Plant Watering 101
When we experience hot summer temperatures, we have to change the way we are watering. Here are our favorite tips and tricks on how to water plants when the temperatures rise.
Flowering Hanging Baskets and Container Gardens
When it comes to watering hanging baskets and container gardens, they should be checked every day when we are experiencing high summer temperatures. For hanging baskets, the best way to check them is to pick them up to see if they are heavy or light.
- If your baskets are heavy, they most likely have wet soil. They do not need watering.
- If they are Fuchsia or New Guinea Impatiens hanging baskets and they are wilted, check to see if they need water. Sometimes these two plants will wilt due to high temperatures, not lack of water. Once we have cooler temperatures, they will bounce back easily.
- If your hanging baskets are lightweight, water them thoroughly until water rushes out the bottom.
- After watering, lift the basket to check the weight again.
- If they are heavy, then you did the job correctly and they were watered thoroughly.
- If they aren’t, you need to water them again. Often when the soil is very dry, the water will flush through and not be absorbed by the soil.
- Feel the soil with your fingers to check for moisture. Water thoroughly when your plants need it.
- If it rains, check them anyway to be sure they are moist. Sometimes the plant’s leaves form a canopy over the soil and the rain will not be absorbed.
- If you are watering frequently, the plants will require more nutrients so keep up with your applications of fertilizer. This will keep your plants looking fresh and healthy.
It is important to observe your plants during warm temperatures to make sure your plants are receiving enough water. It is important to note that even though we may receive hard rain, the water does not always reach the plant’s roots because of the water runoff.
Deep Root Watering
Be sure to soak the root ball of newly transplanted shrubs, trees, and perennials by putting your hose near the base of the plant and letting it run very slowly for a period of time
- Water approximately 15 minutes with your hose on a low pressure or soaking.
- If you have a higher water pressure or a smaller shrub (such as a one-gallon pot size) then adjust and water less.
- If you deep root water, then you should only water a few times per week, but not every day.
More established plants that are wilting can be watered in the same way, but usually one time per week is sufficient. There are a few exceptions. For example: It may take hydrangeas three years to get completely rooted in so they don’t wilt on a daily basis during dry times. Water them using a hose at the base of the plant nearly every other day when it was hot and dry.
Tomato Plants and Other Vegetable Plants
It is best to keep vegetable plants evenly moist, especially tomatoes. Tomato plants that experience fluctuation in dry and wet conditions are prone to blossom end rot. Blossom end rot is when black legions on the base of tomatoes appear. This usually happens on the first tomatoes that ripen. You can avoid this by keeping plants evenly moist. This allows the plant to absorb calcium and other nutrients efficiently so tomatoes ripen unharmed.
Water your raised garden beds thoroughly and well. A light sprinkle will not penetrate dry soil. If using a hose, water each plant slowly on a medium to light spray.
The more water that is applied to the soil, the more nutrients are flushed away. It is important that you continue to fertilize your vegetable plants. It will help your plants growth and ultimately increase your plant’s production.
As the season progresses you may need to water the lawn. If so, it is best to put down about 1” of water per week in the evening, if possible. This is better than watering lightly every day because it encourages the roots of the grass plants to grow deeper into the soil where it will not dry out as fast, thus keeping your lawn looking green longer.