Basic Watering Rules

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated June 23, 2021)


If there is one aspect of gardening and that can cause more problems for beginning and veteran gardeners or landscapers then it has to be watering. After all, if you don't get the watering right, then you can find yourself faced with all kinds of problems. The trick lies in learning and following the basic watering rules. With a firm grasp of these basic rules, you will be able handle most, if not all, watering issues when they arise.

  • Wilting is bad. One of the first, and most basic, rules of watering is learning that wilting is bad. This means that you should not, if at all possible, wait to water your plants or flowers until they have started to droop. Drooping, and other symptoms of wilting, are indicative of a flower or plant that is not very robust and more susceptible to other problems such as insects and disease. Begin watering your plants at the first signs of them being thirsty such as hard or crusty soil, and leaves which used to be glossy are now dull and listless.
  • Water early for best results. One of the easiest mistakes to make is to water your plants at the inappropriate time. Ideally, the best time to water your garden and landscape is early in the morning, when the temperature isn't as high as it will be later in the day. If you cannot water in the morning, then water later on at night when the sun has set. Doing this will not only help protect the water from evaporating before it is completely absorbed into the ground, but also help prevent any burning from the sun when it hits the water itself.
  • Don't be afraid to go deep. Another common way of transgressing against the basic watering rules is to not go deep enough with your watering. For most people, when they water their gardens and landscape will water often, but shallowly on a regular schedule that you can set your watch to. A better method would be to follow a more "natural" approach of watering deeply every so often interspersed with some shallow watering. The reason for this is that most plants will have their roots deeper than one inch, so the water will need to penetrate at least that far.
  • Focus on your soil and not the plant. When watering, beginning gardeners typically will focus more on the plant rather than on the soil itself. Depending on the type of flower, this can lead to all kinds of problems. There are flowers that do not like to get wet, so when they do they begin to close up which will end up causing them to become susceptible to insects and disease. As much as possible you need to have the water delivery method focused more towards the soil than the plants themselves. If at all possible, use a drip line to deliver the water directly towards the roots of the plants and bypass the risk of hitting the leaves all together.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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What is five less than 5?

2013-09-11 20:06:26


Wilting is bad? Does anyone really need to be told this? Watering early in the morning or after the sun has set to avoid the heat from the sun making the water evaporate before it can be absorbed by the soil is good advice for complete beginners.

But the article failed to explain how to tell if you are watering deeply or only shallowly? Must we all keep digging little holes in the soil and the lawn to find out how deeply we are watering?

2012-01-02 16:52:44

Avid Gardener

Considering I live in Zone 9 where water is a major topic during the summer months, this is invaluable information. Keep up the great work.


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