Let's face it, irrigation can be confusing. Here are the latest questions we've gotten about watering plants from our customers.
1. "How much water do I put on my plants?"
This is the most common question we get this time of year. Because of the many types of plants and different watering needs, the answer to the question is..."it depends".
Considerations when determining a watering schedule for your plants:
- The type of plant. Is it a succulent? Tropical?
- How large is the plant? Did it come in a 3-5 gallon-sized pot?
- Is it newly planted, or is it established?
As a rule of thumb, if you have a 3-5 gallon newly planted shrub you will require three to five gallons of water per watering. If you have a 1 gallon plant, you need one gallon once per watering and so on. (Note, this is total gallons needed per watering - the number of times you water can vary)Watering Considerations:
On all plants, water requirements will be less once your plant is established. Did you plant it within the last two years? Then it is still fairly new and will need more frequent water. If it has been around three years or more, and is healthy, it will need less frequent watering.
- Lush, tropical plants with large leaves generally require more water.
- Consider your soil type. How your soil drains will greatly impact your need for water. Read our Watering 101 Guide for more.
If drip irrigation is your route make sure to have the correct emitters. The emitters are the tiny spouts on the end of the spaghetti tubes that release the water to the plant. If you have the textbook plant as mentioned above, then you could simply use a three, four or five gallon per hour (GPH) emitter one time per week, for one hour, and done!
A common mistake homeowners make is getting too low of flow on an emitter and running it for too short of time. If you have a three-gallon shrub, and run your 1 GPH emitter for five minutes, one time a week, it is not enough water. To equal three gallons per watering, you'd have to run that 1 GPH emitter for three hours. The number of times to water per week depends on soil drainage, the type of plant, and the temperature.
If all this talk of GPH is confusing, we can help- just stop by one of our nurseries for help.
2. "What's the best way to water while I'm gone on vacation this summer? Is there an inexpensive, easy-to-use product?"
The answer is a resounding yes! There are nifty hose-end timers at reasonable prices that allow you to water your plants automatically even when you are away on vacation. No more coming home from vacation to a bed full of dead plants. All you need is a hose bib and you can setup a simple automatic irrigation system for around $30. They typically operate on a single 9-volt battery with a life up to one year and require no wiring or digging.
Hose-End Timer Product Features:
1. Flexible programming options.
2. Simple to use.
3. The timer is well built and long lasting.
4. A wide flow range typically from .1 to 6.3 gallons per minute.
5. Used for various applications, including drip irrigation and micro sprinkler systems connected to a garden hose or faucet/spigot.
3. "How do I know when I need to water my lawn?"
Most lawns need to be watered when the top two inches of soil is dry. Use a soil probe to see how far water permeates after a watering. (See photo).
4. "What time of day is best to water my lawn and how frequently?"
We recommend watering early in the morning when evaporation and wind are minimal. Avoid watering at night because it can lead to lawn fungus and diseases. Deep, and infrequent waterings are preferred to watering everyday. This rule applies to most plants.
5. "How should I prioritize my watering during low water years?"
Prioritize water to preserve the foundation plants in your yard. What is a foundation plant? A foundation plant is a plant that is the bones, or structure of the landscape design. This would consist of trees and shrubs that are established in your yard and help frame your home. These plants add value to your home and take many years to establish and grow to maturity.
Don't ignore these plants. Consider watering trees and shrubs that are foundational on a drip system so you can set the timer & forget it.
6. "Does Green Acres Nursery & Supply provide irrigation education?"
We offer seasonal workshops and as always stop by any of our nurseries for one-on-one help from our irrigation experts. We offer an extensive selection of irrigation supply products for projects big and small.
Have more irrigation questions?