Plants like 1” of water a week to grow strong roots, create healthy foliage and flowers, and set fruit buds in the fall for the following spring. 1” of rain can be most easily understood as two good rains per week. (To see if an inch of rain is predicted each week, you can check out weatherunderground.com)
If 1” of rain doesn’t fall, watering is essential - especially for new plants who have not yet grown deep root systems to access underground water. After a few years, most plants will be much more drought-tolerant.
Using a Hose and Nozzle
• Herbaceous perennials: 30 seconds for each plant, using a *soft* spray at the base of the plant.
• Shrubs: 3-5 min (depending on size) or 1-2 five-gallon buckets
• Trees = 5-10 min (depending on size) or 2-3 five-gallon buckets
• Do not water the day after a rain - wait a day or two. Watering deeply and less often, rather than shallowly and every day, is much more helpful in growing strong, resilient plants.
• Water in the early mornings or evenings, and aim the water at the base of the plant, where it can be cupped by the mulch ring and directed at the roots of the plant. Sometimes this means waiting until the water is absorbed before adding more.
• Periodically, ensure that the mulch is not building up next to the trunk of the plant, which could cause rot. The mulch ring works best when shaped like a doughnut, with the tree planted in the center.
• Non-toxic, flexible hoses. These will not leach heavy metals into the water on hot summer days – especially helpful for watering fruit trees and other food crops. They are also easier to move around.
• Non-squeeze nozzles – try a nozzle you can turn on with a button, rather than by squeezing. It is a lot easier to keep watering!
• Shut-off valves, to put on just below the nozzles – you can use these to stop the water flow if you need to change or take off the nozzle (ie so you can fill a five-gallon bucket), without having to walk all the way to the spigot.
• Neptune’s Harvest – added to the five-gallon bucket of water, this product works great at helping your plants grow!
If there are 2 good rains, your job is done.
If there is 1 good rain, water once a few days later.
If there is no rain, water twice.
Your plants want 1” of rain a week!