The Q&A Archives: watering

Question: I just moved to az and I not sure how to water all the plants they put in my yard. Is there a book you can tell me about or help me understand water down here.

Answer: Without knowing what kind of plants and watering system, I can't give you specifics, but here are some general principles that will help you in all situations.

How much and how often to water depends on many factors, such as your soil type, weather, plant maturity, etc. In sandy soil, water will penetrate faster (therefore deeper) but the soil will dry out sooner. In clay soil, it penetrates slower (so not as deep) but it will stay moist longer. Young plants generally need more frequent watering than established plants. Small plants generally need more frequent watering than large (because their root systems are more shallow).

Use the 1-2-3 Rule as an easy method to remember. Small plants with shallow root systems, such as perennials, veggies, herbs, cacti, succulents have roots that reach about 1 foot deep, so water needs to penetrate that far. When the top 1 inch of soil dries out, it's usually time to water again. Shrubs have root systems that are 2 feet deep so water needs to soak 2 feet deep. When the top 2 inches of soil dries out, it's time to water. Trees are 3 feet, etc. After plants establish root systems, the time between waterings can be lengthened, but it is always essential to water to the same depth. So you are applying the same amount of water with each irrigation regardless of the time of year, but the frequency changes. As warm weather arrives, you need to water more frequently than during winter. For veggies and small plants, it may be necessary to water daily. A soil probe will help you determine how far water has soaked. It moves easily through wet soil but stops when it hits hard soil. If you have drip or soaker hoses, I

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