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Watering too much causes many common plant problems. You can grow healthier, deeper-rooted plants, save money on water bills, and conserve precious water by learning to give your lawn and garden just what they need, and no more.
Most plants do best if the soil is allowed to partially dry out between waterings. For lawns, a loss of shine or footprints showing indicate that it’s time to water. Vegetables and other annuals should be watered at the first sign of wilting, but tougher perennials (plants that live several years) only need water if they stay droopy after it cools off in the evening. Trees and shrubs usually don’t need any watering once their roots are fully established (two to five years), except in very dry years.
Watering deeply builds deeper, healthier root systems. To see if you are watering deep enough to moisten the whole root zone, dig in with a trowel an hour after watering to check the depth.
Some easy ways to lower water bills and get more water to plants include:
Automatic systems often waste a lot of water, or they can be fairly efficient depending on how you set and maintain them.
Smart Watering (pdf) - This guide will help you plan your yard to use water efficiently.
Get to Know Your Soil (pdf) - Solve soil problems, and determine how long and how often to water to grow deeper-rooted and healthier plants.
How to Water New Plants - Learn how to get your new plants off to a healthy start.
Soaker Hose Instructions (pdf) - Save water, money and time by installing and using soaker hoses.
The Plant List (pdf) - 240 great plants for our region: most are drought tolerant, many natives.
Want a print copy of one of the guides? Contact the experts at the Garden Hotline at (206) 633-0224 (language interpretation available) or at Garden Hotline.
Rebates & Tips for Irrigation Systems - Tips to set and maintain your automatic irrigation system, and rebates for water-saving upgrades.
Saving Water Partnership - Great ideas and rebates for water conservation in your home, yard, school, or business.