GARDENING FACT SHEET:
“How To Water Your Plants” (Click to View Printable PDF file)
Correctly watering is one of the most important ways to care for your new or existing plants.
It’s important to never keep your plants constantly saturated with frequent shallow waterings.
Plants need oxygen just as much as they need water. You want to water deeply and then give
time for your plant to lightly dry.
On the other end not watering enough can wither the leaves and cause substantial stress so it’s
important to find a balance between these two extremes.
The best method of watering is a slow application using a hose or drip system. The goal is to
deeply saturate your root ball then allow your plant to go lightly dry between watering’s
without reaching desiccation. This will also help the tree or shrub to establish a root system
that will tolerate harsh drought conditions.
How often you water will depend on the weather, the size of the plant, if it is a new planting or
an existing planting and if it is in a container or in the ground. Plantings in containers will need
watered more often as well as newly planted trees, shrubs or perennials.
How to check your soil
Because there are so many variables it’s important to know how to check your soil. Once you
know how to check your soil you will be able to accurately gauge when your plant needs water
and when it does not.
To check your soil, dig down 4-8 inches deep at the outside edge of the root ball (depending on
the size of the root ball). Squeeze the soil from that depth. If it makes a moist ball, there is
enough moisture in the soil. Do not water. If it crumbles and breaks apart, then it is time to
water. Do not concern yourself with the top inch or so of soil.