Are You Are Watering Correctly?

How do you know if you are overwatering? What is typically the right amount of water for the following categories:

  • grass
  • established shrubs
  • potted plants
  • new trees
  • established trees

What is the right watering frequency in Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer?

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It’s complicated. and the impact of over- and under-watering a plant can look very similar. It depends on how long the plant has been in the soil, if it is in a container or the ground, sun or shade, mulched or not, and the needs of particular plants. It also depends on if your established plants have been watered deeply and infrequently and have developed deep roots or if they have been watered a lot and therefore have shallow roots. PlantTAGG can tell you if each plant needs wet, moist, dry, well-drained, etc., soil.
Seeing a plant with curled up leaves doesn’t mean it needs water: this is the plant’s way of protecting itself from the hot sun, like we do by going into a/c.
Some people can stick a finger into the soil and tell how damp it is but I like to use a moisture meter that I can stick in the soil and get an immediate reading of the moisture and act accordingly for that plant’s need. Before I had one I watered all my container plants every day; when I started using the moisture meter I was able to cut it down to once every 4 or 5 days. That’s why I call it my don’t-need-to-water meter and the best garden tool I own. PlantTAGG can tell you if each plant needs wet, moist, dry, well-drained, etc., soil so using that info and your moisture meter should be a great help in know when to water.
Trees usually get watered based on the needs of the plants around them but the most important area to water is the dripline because that is where the furthest roots are.
The most effective way to water is with big drops low to the ground and water the soil, not the foliage. Also better to do in the pre-dawn hours than in the evening. And when using a manual or automatic sprinkler, follow your city’s watering ordinances.

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Hi Sherri - Welcome to The Hive! Your question is both common and difficult to answer. Each plant species (and even some varieties) have different preferred watering requirements. Further, some like a light soak more frequently (most new plants and plants with no tap root) and some like a deep soak less frequently (mature trees). For potted plants, it can depend on if they are in full sun, full shade or somewhere in between. The size of the pot and type of plant will have alot to do with it. Established shrubs may be the easiest to find a standard answer for - but again, sun and species matter alot.

This question is one of many like this where gardeners have many plants in different microclimates of their yard that all need different care. Watering is just one but in Texas summer - getting this right is the different between happy and dead plants. We have some really smart experienced Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists joining The Hive. Im sure you will get some great responses in the coming days.

Thanks for joining The Hive!

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Thank you… this was very helpful.

Thank you. Very excited to be part of the Hive.