Ask a Question forum: Watering in the evening - good or bad?

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North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
May 26, 2017 4:42 PM CST
Does anyone water their garden in the evening? Everything I read says it's a bad thing to do for various reasons, the main reason being that it leads to fungal diseases.

I say 'maybe' After all, plants seem to survive if it rains at night.

I'm not trying to argue about the best time to water. Just trying to figure out if I'm harming my plants if I water just before it gets dark.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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dyzzypyxxy
May 26, 2017 4:49 PM CST
If the weather is very dry (low humidity) or windy it's probably not much of a problem. But if you water in the evenings consistently, and the humidity is higher, or there isn't any wind to dry the leaves before dark you are absolutely putting out the welcome mat for every fungal organism that floats by.

It's true that you can't control the rain, and rain often falls in the late afternoon or at night when you least want it. Here, when we get into what's known as the "summer weather pattern" it rains regularly in the late afternoon, and we absolutely see a huge increase in all sorts of fungal woes.

If you can be very careful to water only the soil, and not wet the leaves too much, or use drip irrigation then watering at night isn't so much of an issue.
Elaine

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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
May 26, 2017 4:51 PM CST
Good or bad for whom? or for wha?

For most of the plants it is not the best time to water.

But...as a young mother with a cranky husband and two children...I looked forward to standing out in the yard in the evening watering for about an hour. It was my "Zen" time. The only reason I remained sane was by watering in the evening.

Plant sites and books about gardening do not take into consideration the 'why' of watering.
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
May 26, 2017 5:00 PM CST
Greene, that's funny - I was just remembering today my husband and I laughing at an elderly man hand watering his flowers many many years ago. We jokingly said, 'Has he never heard of a sprinkler...' and, 'Who has time for THAT...' - never knowing we would BE those elderly folks with hose in hand. I agree to the zen aspect, general relaxation, and a good time to really take stock of what's happening in each garden bed. Water away!

Back to the question, I water whenever things look parched and if it's the evening, so be it. I don't have an irrigation system so if I don't catch it when it is obvious, chances are I'll lose something.

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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 26, 2017 5:03 PM CST
Watering in the evening is especially pleasant if you have a glass of wine in your other hand. Smiling
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 26, 2017 5:06 PM CST
If you're not having any problems watering in the evening then it's a case of whatever works for you. You may not be growing anything susceptible to fungal diseases. The reason watering in the evening increases the risk of fungal diseases is because the pathogens typically require a lengthy period of leaf wetness in order to infect the plant, and leaves stay wetter longer after the sun has gone down. Evening watering is also said to increase damage by slugs.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
May 26, 2017 5:11 PM CST
Yes, well slugs are a whole 'nother ball of wax. Or should I say 'slime'?
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
May 26, 2017 5:28 PM CST
Here at home I never water my patio plants in the evening, and I only water my in-ground plants in the evening. Each has its own justification. The landscape watering I do is very limited and intermittent, like every 2 weeks, because the plants are almost all succulents. We have serious water shortages so I make use of the best time in that respect, evening, when the least evaporation will occur. Our nighttime fog helps a lot. I justify watering less based on when I water, if that makes sense. It has never been an issue for the plants, which are pretty much grateful for whatever water they can get. Smiling The amount I water probably penetrates a foot or so into the ground.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
May 26, 2017 5:38 PM CST
Ok, everyone. I'm going outside now before it gets dark. Too bad I don't have a glass of wine to take with me.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
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RickCorey
May 26, 2017 5:50 PM CST
I thought that hand-watering after work kept me relatively sane through an especially stressful project at work that lasted for 6-7 years.

But it does take time, especially if you don't use "flood irrigation". That's why I eventually added some sprayers, so that I could make hand-watering mostly optional, except for a few spots or where sprayers had gaps.

(I think I'm glad I didn't go very far with dripline. It seemed easier at first, also no overspray, drifting mist, or wet leaves. Now I realize that I can't @!#$%@#$% HOE a bed if there is dripline wound all through it. And after a season of neglect, when I want to weed-whack and scalp before manually pulling things, weed-whacking chops up dripline and 1/4" tubing at the same time the tubing tangles the trimmer string. I think dripline may be better when laid out in single, straight lines AND covered completely with mulch. And may weeds need to be pulled before they become Jungle.)

For some reason, despite using sprayers in the afternoon, I didn't see much mold or fungus during the summer (our dry season) , except for things like peas reaching "end-of-life". It seems that the plants "give up" and die and/or get moldy all at once.

Somehow we go from 8-9 months of "persistent drizzle, cloudiness, and moss on roofs and driveways" to a few months of summer with no rain and low humidity. Maybe all coastal PNW molds became dependent on frequent drizzle, cluds and humidity, and simply turn to spores all summer?
Name: Charlie
Aurora, Ontario (Zone 5b)
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SunnyBorders
May 27, 2017 9:30 AM CST
As above, it depends on the climate, etc. where you garden.

As I was told, if you followed morning watering instructions for England here, much of that water would be lost to evaporation during the day.

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