Efficient garden watering for the summer
With the summer in full swing and most parts of the island experiencing record temperatures, watering your garden regularly becomes a priority. How can you water most efficiently?
When should you water your plants and how frequently
- One to two watering sessions per week is usually sufficient: better to water less often with plenty of water rather than little and often.
- Try to water in the cool of the evening or even better in the very early morning - this way you lose less water to evaporation.
- Don't water where drainage is poor, for example if the soil has a high clay content - a symptom is the presence of moss throughout the garden. Roots can be susceptible to airless conditions, particularly when the soil is warm in summer. In this case aerating the soil would be beneficial.
Watering methods - which is the most efficient?
- Sprinklers are great for establishing new lawns; soaker hoses are better for confined spaces.
- Soaker hoses can be hidden beneath soil or mulch to reduce evaporation; they form an excellent self-contained watering system for greenhouses and poly-tunnels. Use them also for establishing trees and hedging to keep the roots cool as they develop.
- If watering with a garden hose, use an adjustable nozzle, and a rose with a watering can. Aim at the stem bases beneath the foliage canopy evenly without jet-washing the soil away from the plant. This helps to limit weed problems and ensures all the water goes where it is needed. Keep leaves dry to avoid leave mould; wet leaves also develop burn marks in the sun.
- Use saucers and trays filled with water underneath your valuable patio planters and let the your plants drink when they get 'thirsty'. Its very efficient and saves time too.
Adjust your watering based on the plant type
- Newly sown plants are very vulnerable to water-stress. Water them as soon as you get them in the ground. Allow the water to soak in, then water again until the soil is thoroughly moistened. Water young plants daily or every other day. From the second week onward you may be able to decrease watering frequency to two or three times per week until the fall rains begin.
- Established trees and shrubs do not generally need watering, as they have such wide-ranging roots that they are drought-proof. Planting trees around your garden has the additional advantage of reducing the soil and air temperature and alleviating the need for watering.
- Herbaceous perennials often need watering to boost their performance in hot, dry spells. Plant choice is crucial if you want to achieve a drought-proof border.
- For vegetables, leafy crops such as lettuce and spinach should never be short of water; onions require little or no watering. Most other crops need watering at sowing and transplanting time, and then again as the fruits, roots or tubers are developing.
- Lawns require less watering than most people thought - instead of watering in dry periods, mow less closely and less frequently. Brown patches usually turn green again when rain comes.
- Plant thirsty species and new growths in April so they can establish their roots well before winter arrives.
- Mulch soil around plants with straw or bark to prevent evaporation of water from the soil’s surface. This will also ward off slugs and prevent weeds from growing, which compete with your plants for water and nutrients.
- On the other hand do not add fertiliser, as this can encourage too much lush growth which dries out in summer.
If you have any questions about keeping your garden watered, please don't hesitate to contact us at 028 7964 2324 or visit us in person - our plants team will be more than happy to assist you!