Watering Plants... How Do You Know When To Do It?

10:06 AM, Jun 6, 2012   |    comments
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Triad --  Everyone wants their yard to look nice.  For that to happen, you need two main ingredients.  In North Carolina, sunshine never seems to be in short supply.  Rain, on the other hand, can be hard to come by many summers.

According to Mary Helen Ferguson, Randolph County Extension Agent, when it comes to watering the yard, it needs about an inch per week.  The easiest way to track that is to put a rain gauge in your yard.  Write down how much water accumulates after each rain and after each watering.  It's important to keep a record instead of just letting the rain gauge fill up each week because there will be evaporation. 

Plants are a little different- especially those in containers. If they aren't in the ground, they dry out much faster.  Jennifer Thompson from A&A Plants says the best way to figure out when to water is by "weighing" them.  Simply lift your container or hanging baskets.  If they're too light, it's time to water.  After you do it a couple of times, you'll get a feel for what the weight should be. 

Thompson says when you water, do it long enough that the water drips out of the bottom of the pot.  If it spills over the sides, go to another plant and come back after it has had time to seep in.  Then water again until it falls out of the bottom. 

You can also stick your finger in the top few inches to see if it feels moist if you have very large containers.  The problem is that you will only know what is going in the top few inches.  Make sure the whole plant has water to keep the roots healthy. 

When is the best time to water?  Do it early in the morning or late in the evening.  That's when the sun is the least direct and the humidity is the highest.  There will be much less evaporation.  Many think it is good to give plants a drink in the middle of the afternoon so they can cool off in the hot sun.  When you do that, most of the water will be lost to evaporation.      


Jennifer Thompson, A&A Plants

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