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Kind of off topic.. watering mature plants help

Posted by keriann_lakegeneva 5B (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 16, 10 at 22:39

I know there are other forums.. but I like you guys over here more : ).

How do you water your plants once they are planted outside for the summer?

I bottom water my seedlings now, but how should I water them in their final homes?

I have an irrigation system that waters the beds but have not had the 'best' results with annuals and have to hand water them as well.

I have lots of pots on my pier and containers from clay to tin to concrete and annuals in my beds.

What is the 'best' way to water... deep, with a good soaking once a week? what about containers? Will they drink from a saucer (bottom water)?

Thanks in advance


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Kind of off topic.. watering mature plants help


I feel incompetent to offer advice to a Master Gardener. But that being said, I can tell you that plants will wick up moisture from the bottom. I don't have a clue what your irrigation system is, but my ideal one would be soaker hose placed about 2" from the plants' stem that would deliver water. The amount would depend on the needs of the plant but generally 3/4 to 1" of rain (roughly 2-2.75 quarts of water per square foot) applied once a week will work a treat for most veggies during the summer in Zone 5. Root bound plants will need more, especially if the sun beats on their sides.



RE: Kind of off topic.. watering mature plants help

I find that I have to water my 'sun' annuals pretty much every day in the heat of summer. This past week, it's been in the 80's and sunny every day. I watered very heavily on Monday; Tuesday night, everything still looked pretty good and they were calling for rain on Wednesday, so I decided not to lug the hose around again. Rain didn't come on Wednesday, and when I got home from work Wednesday evening, everything was laying over and looking pretty poor. It's a chore to pull the hose all over, but that's what I do. In the past, when I had a big raised veggie bed, I had soaker hoses set up, but found like you I had to take and hand water some of the plants that just didn't seem to get enough from the soaker hoses for whatever reason.

RE: Kind of off topic.. watering mature plants help

When we plant in the garden we do it in trenches or make a basin around larger plants to hold water,so when we water if we fill the trench or basin with water it soaks into the ground. My husband waters the garden and does it from the rain barrel.

I water my flower beds by hand, usually with the hose or I may use the rain barrel to do my pots. I saturate the ground as I'm going down the bed, until the water lays on top of the soil then I come back and do it again. I don't water often. I want the roots to go deep and make lots of them, looking for water. They are less likely to wilt and show stress. I use a nozzle on my hose that has a soaker setting so the water bubbles out in a stream. I only water the soil and never the plant. If I'm watering I water in early evening right after supper which is usually around 5 PM.

I have many pots on my patio and a few other places-- small pots get watered every night, my larger ones every few days. I tend to grow more drought tolerant plants in my pots.

I know they say soaker hoses are good, but when I first started gardening we couldn't afford them and I got into a routine of doing it this way and found I really enjoy doing it this way so that's the way it is.

RE: Kind of off topic.. watering mature plants help

sleepy it sounds like you need to amend your soil or mulch. Even in the heat of summer the only plants I need to water every day are in containers. My veggie and flower gardens only need water every 2-3 days in July and August. I got a mechanical timer and soaker hoses this year so I don't have to lug the hose around with my wand and spend 2 hours a day watering. Just turn the dial and do something productive for a change lol. My garden will get much more TLC this year. I do recommend a dish or pan for container plants during hot summer months. I bought a bunch of those flimsy clear plastic bowls from lowes last year and they saved a few container plants.

RE: Kind of off topic.. watering mature plants help

My system is an sprinkler system that waters the lawn and main beds 1-5 times a week depening on air temp, rain fall and humidity. Not ideal but, there is NO way I could hand water all of my beds. That would be another full time job :)

I will try soaker hoses this year on some of my more tender beds. I have been doing what oilpainter does (minus the treches).. one good soak about once a week.

I guess I have to understand that unless I am planting all of the same thing, I will have different watering needs, plant by plant and no one method is fool proof.

I will stick to deep watering/soaking my pots (from the top) as well.

Thank you so much guys! I love this weather... I just wish they could guarentee no more frost!


RE: Kind of off topic.. watering mature plants help

I am tomatoes only in dry hot Colorado. I use a large dripper, 12 inches apart on each plant. Last year went great every other day, but I did get some rings to indicate that I needed to water every day in hot weather, 90 to 100 degrees. My soil is very, very sandy and I have to live with it. I use the large drippers to reduce clogging with unfiltered city water, and manualy operate them. Like 15 minutes gives 1 gal water to each plant.
Each year I try more things but this seems to work the best for me. what worked before was PVC pipe with tiny holes at each plant, what I called a "dribbler" system. Soil is too sandy to use ditch watering.
Oh yea, one year I tried sprinklers on tomatoes..never again. Every disease in the book.
Have fun KennyP

RE: Kind of off topic.. watering mature plants help

Taz, I'm sure the soil here could do with amending; many spots, it's pure Kansas clay. But it's a rental, and I'm not putting that much effort/$ into it. It is mulched. Also, I'm speaking of plants I've put out relatively recently, so they aren't, strictly speaking, 'mature' plants. I imagine they'll be able to hold out a bit longer as their roots develop further. I agree with you, when I had my drip irrigation system set up, that was the way to go.

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