Growing a healthy, thriving garden can require a lot of effort. From planting to harvest, knowing how to meet the needs of your plants is essential. As gardeners learn to amend the soil, correctly fertilize their plantings, and manage diseases and pests, one extremely important aspect is often overlooked – watering.
While learning to water the garden may seem simple, there is actually much to consider, including both quantity and frequency. One technique, called deep watering, can be quite beneficial for a wide range of plant types. But what is deep watering?
What Is Deep Watering?
While it is certainly no secret that plants often need additional water to survive the warmest portions of the growing season, many gardeners are left to question exactly how much water is actually needed. General guidance can often be found, but ideal conditions may vary dramatically from one plant type to another.
Many growers choose to maintain rain gauges to monitor plants and make better informed decisions regarding supplemental watering. Deep watering is a strategy incorporated by savvy growers to ensure that garden beds are supplied with consistent and even moisture, without water waste.
Watering deeply refers to watering in a manner which allows the soil to be soaked several inches (7-10 cm.) deep. Deep watering helps to make water more readily available to plants, and it allows for more efficient use of water in the event of prolonged periods without rain. Deep watering trees, shrubs, and other plants is also believed to aid in the development of strong roots. Deep watering grass is popular among those who work to maintain lush manicured lawns throughout the summer months, as well.
When deep watering plants, any rapid delivery of water should always be avoided. This can lead to standing water and soggy soil which will not absorb well. Watering deeply can be better achieved through the use of a timed drip irrigation, soaker hoses, or even sprinklers, but it must be done carefully.
Not Too Often
Though the slower rate of delivery is ideal, infrequent watering is essential when using this method. Watering that’s too frequent will actually lead to the development of more shallow root systems. Plants with shallow root systems may become much more susceptible to drought, as the upper portion of soil dries much more quickly.
Several garden characteristics can impact the overall success of deep watering plants. A gardener’s ability to begin watering deeply may greatly depend upon their own soil composition. Amending the soil frequently with high quality organic matter is a great way to help the soil better retain moisture, and can make deep watering techniques more effective.