What Time of Day Should You Water Your Plants?

There are truly no hard and fast rules when it comes to watering your plants, at least in terms of what time of day it should be done. After all, this is a judgement call that you have to make, and it is dependent on the types of plants, the prevailing weather, the soil, time of year, as well as a number of other variables.

Fortuitously, it’s not difficult to work out what should be done. All you need to do is to assess the soil.

Should you work in a plant nursery, before deciding to spot water, you should lift each individual pot. Given some time, you begin to get a feel for the weight of the soil and you can tell if it’s well moistened or otherwise. If it’s not heavy enough, you should aim to water gradually until the soil is moist enough that the excess water runs from the base of the pot.

Although we don’t all have the pleasure of working in a nursery, a similar reasoning applies to our hanging baskets as to the plants in the nursery. If you lift a hanging basket and it feels light, you’ll know that it’s time for watering.

Watering represents little to no worth if the water merely runs around the exterior of the plant’s root ball, thereby leaving the root system at the center entirely dry. And this sort of thing can occur if you water overly rapidly, or you make an application of a lot of water at one time. Normally, a policy of watering slowly is a more effective methodology to focus on.

The answer is to be sure that the water always penetrates the entire root zone. And that goes regardless you are irrigating seedlings, watering your tomatoes, watering the houseplants, or irrigating your lawn.

In your garden, obviously you’ll be unable to use the same “lift test” that those who work in a plant nursery can rely on in order to determine if plants require irrigation. However, you can utilize a soil moisture sensor instead.

If a more intensive investigation is called for, you can insert a spade within the soil close to the plants that you feel require some water and then pull the blade of the spade back to assess if the soil is dry. If the soil looks or feels moist to around 6-12 inches, then there’s no requirement for any irrigation.

The Best Approach to Watering Your Plants

The root zone.

Keep in mind that it is not the plant leaves that require water, it is the root system. Dousing the foliage of your trees, your shrubs, seedlings, whatever, is merely wasting water. Furthermore, it can have a negative impact of spreading disease.

Irrigate only when it’s needed.

An automatic timer for watering is particularly useful. Maintain an awareness of the weather conditions, and if rainfall is expected, either reduce the frequency of your irrigation or stop it entirely. Keep in mind that excessive water can cause as much damage to plants than can too little water.

Water deeply as well as thoroughly.

Grass and annual plants maintain their root systems within the uppermost six inches of the soil. With respect to perennials and some smaller shrubs, it’s more like the top 12 inches. And then, for larger shrubs and trees, the root systems can travel through the soil for numerous feet.

In heavier soil conditions, it can take a few hours for the water to enter the upper 6-12 inches, and even more so if the soil is particularly dry and clay-like. By all means check progress with a spade if need be.

Water during the morning hours.

If when irrigating your plants, moisture lands on the leaves, as can be inevitable, then if you water in the earlier hours of the day, there’s time enough for the foliage to dry. In which case, the potential for the spread of fungus is much reduced.

Use mulch.

By mulching the soil, it helps to reduce moisture runoff from the surface and slows evaporation of moisture from the soil.

Utilize the appropriate tool.

To heighten the efficiency of watering at the roots, you can use what is known as a soaker hose, or a drip irrigation system which is more precise, as opposed to relying on a sprinkler system.

Lawn irrigation system.

If you have a sizable lawn, have a lawn irrigation system installed rather than depending on a do-it-yourself set-up.

Espana Gomez is an author of this blog. Recently she works as an interior design assistant in her town. She loves daydreaming about beautiful homes and interior decor.