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When To Water Your Lawn Or Garden And How Much Water To Use

Watering your lawn, garden, bushes, and/or trees is absolutely vital to their survival, unless, of course, you really like cacti. But assuming that you are trying to grow something that that will most probably never send you to the hospital, you will most probably need to water it properly. The key word is properly. Watering improperly is easy. All you need to do to achieve watering improperly is to go outside at any time of the day or night and turn on the hose for as long or as short as you want, and to aim the hose at as much or as few plants as you want. I personally would recommend against this, but if you do not water your plants properly, you are essentially doing what I just described. Needless to say, your plants will most likely not thrive with these particular watering practices. The 64,000 dollar is question is when to water, what to water, and how much to water.

When to water your plants is dependent mostly upon the root system of the plants you wish to water. How much water your plants will need is primarily dependent upon how much topsoil has dried out. Each of these will be discussed in greater detail.

The first and most important thing you need to do when figuring out when to water your plants is by inspecting the topsoil in the root zone of your plants. Plants that have very shallow roots are more likely to suffer from a drought than plants with deeper roots. This is because plants with shallow roots can only absorb water from the topsoil at the surface of the ground, whereas plants with deeper roots can absorb water from deeper topsoil. Therefore, at a time of drought when the top layer of the topsoil will dry out more quickly than the deeper layers of topsoil, the drought will cause damage more quickly to plants with more shallow roots.

Turf plants generally have very shallow roots with the deepest roots reaching the depth of about three inches. Leafy vegetables usually grow roots about six to ten inches deep. Beans generally grow roots about one foot deep. Corn usually grows roots about two feet deep; potatoes grow roots about two and half feet deep; and tomatoes grow roots about three feet deep. Poor aeration, high water table or hardpan are soil restrictions that can decrease root depth. Generally, trees and shrubs can thrive quite nicely if left in their natural growing habitat. Transplanting them often requires the use of small and unnatural root systems which can cause them to not do so well. If the topsoil surrounding a plant and its roots becomes completely dry, the plant will almost definitely die. The best course of action in such a scenario is to wait for the topsoil to dry completely and then to water deeply. It is important not to water too much or too frequently, because the topsoil can become too wet, causing the roots to not receive sufficient oxygen. This too will kill a plant, since the roots will rot.

It is very easy to determine if your topsoil is getting too much or too little water. If the topsoil breaks apart very easily and shines or glistens, there is too much water. If the topsoil can hold your handprint when you squeeze it has the right amount of water. If the topsoil is unable to hold your handprint, it needs more water. Generally if the topsoil is more than about two inches deep, it will almost never dry out enough to be dusty. Topsoil that contains as much as about six percent moisture may not be able to sustain life, because it is held too tightly together for the roots to access the water.

A sufficient amount of water is most vital to a plant's survival during pollination or flowering. Most plants can survive a drought so long as they have a sufficient water supply. Plants need to be watered more in the dry and hot summer months, since the temperatures are higher, and the water supplied through rain is lower. During a drought, the best course of action is to give your plants two thirds of their regular water amounts and pray hard that the drought ends quickly.

When watering your plants, it is important to make sure that there is even distribution of water. You must be careful not to give your plants water at a faster rate than they can absorb the water, or you can damage your plants. In gardens or where the topsoil is level, flood irrigation is a good way to water. However, it should be noted that flood irrigation in an area where the topsoil is not level could be detrimental to the health of your plants. Flood irrigation will work very well when watering a tree or bush, but not when watering a large area. During a time of water restrictions, you should water plants with shallow root systems, such as shrubs before you water plants with deeper, more extensive root systems.

To sum up:
Water more deeply and less frequently
Water your plants in such a way that will provide even water distribution
Water plants that are in the process of growing

Visit www.1800topsoil.com for more articles and resources on gardening and topsoil and to use our topsoil calculator.

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Source: www.isnare.com