What are the Best Methods for Garden Watering?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

A beautiful garden is a marvelous goal, but gardens take careful tending in order to bloom successfully. Like any other living thing, plants need water to survive. How, when, and how much water a plant is given can significantly alter its performance and health. By learning about different garden watering methods, the best plan for can be determined based on type of plants and available systems.

A boy watering flowers in a garden.
A boy watering flowers in a garden.

Many amateur gardeners think that water simply needs to end up on the plant, and are likely surprised when their plants die of over or underwatering. Using a hose is not recommended for most plants. Spraying water from a heavy and solid source can damage root systems. Additionally, water can splash onto the leaves of the plant, allowing them to burn in the hot summer sun. If a hose is the only means of watering available, do not turn it to full flow and aim carefully at the base of plants only.

A watering can provides a better solution than a hose, but may not work for some plants. The softer, more diverse flow of water will protect a plant from damage, but it may be impractical for large gardens. Watering cans are perhaps best used on houseplants and small container gardens.

Sprinklers can be a good solution for a small- to medium-sized yard that is mostly grass or groundcover. Look for versions that rotate to ensure even coverage. Some sprinklers can be hooked into timing systems to prevent overwatering and solve the problem of forgetting to water the garden. Sprinkler systems can also be useful for frequent travelers, as they can be set on an automatic schedule even while the gardener is away. A sprinkler system may not be best for gardens where plants require varying amounts of water.

There are several methods of garden watering by irrigation that may be useful. When planting, dig a small ditch between each row of plants. A hose can then be set at the end of the ditch and turned on, allowing the plants to absorb the water at leisure. Drip irrigation systems are another efficient form of garden watering; a pipe with tiny drip holes is hooked into a water supply and run alongside plants, allowing water to slowly seep from the pipe into the ground around the plants.

In order to ease garden watering, place plants with similar watering requirements in groups to avoid confusion. Consider keeping a list of each plant's needs or placing a card with instructions at the front of each garden row. Correct and efficient garden watering is a vital part of any successful garden but can take some trial and error. Researching the type of plants that will grow well with the available watering system can save a great deal of frustration and irritation along the way.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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