51January 18, 2018

Last week, I talked to you about watering houseplants. Even though it is far from the planting season outdoors, let me tell you this week how you should be watering your outdoor plants.

The factors that will influence how you water and how often you water your outdoor plants can vary form day to day and location to location in your yard. Let me explain what I mean by this.

When you are planting outside, you are either going to plant into the ground, or you are going to plant in some type of container. The quality of the soil in your yard or the quality of the soil you use in your containers will have a major impact on how often you water. In either case, the soil needs to hold some water but allow excess water to flow away from the plants. If your plants wind up sitting in water because of a poor quality soil, the roots of your plants will rot and the plants will eventually die.

When you are planting into the soil in your yard, you may need to amend the soil with compost or some type of organic matter. In some cases you would be better off digging a bigger hole, removing the poor quality soil and replacing the soil with a good quality planting mix. By replacing the poor quality soil, you will allow your plants to have soil that holds water but allows excess water to drain away. This is important for proper root formation plus a good quality soil will help to retain the nutrients that your plants need for proper growth.

When you are planting in a container, you need to have a big enough container to hold sufficient soil to allow all the plants in the container to develop a strong root system. Each plant that you put into a container will need a certain amount of water throughout the growing season. If you use too small of a container or you skimp on the amount of soil you use, your plants will suffer from lack of water on those hot summer days.

When you are planting in containers, you always want to use a good quality potting soil.  If you skimp on using a quality soil, you will be spending a lot more time watering early in the season and once we get into the warm summer weather, your plants may not survive even if you water in the morning and the evening.

The amount of watering that you need to do outdoors is influenced by the weather. High temperatures, the amount of sun and the amount of wind will all influence how often you need to water. On a very warm summer day with the plants exposed to a lot of sun and wind you may need to water multiple times per day. If the day is overcast with lower temperatures and little exposure to the wind, you may not have to water at all if you watered your plants the previous day.

If you are growing plants in containers, the later you get into the growing season, the more the plants have grown and the larger the root system will be in the soil. The large root system will take up a lot of the space in the soil and there will be a lesser ability for the soil to hold extra water. This means that later in the season you will have to water more often to keep your plants alive.

When it comes to watering your outdoor plants, a quality soil that holds sufficient moisture will go a long way towards making for happy plants. When the temperatures rise and we get those really hot and windy days, you are going to have to water container grown plants several times per day to keep the plants healthy.

Ultimately, having a quality soil in the ground or using a quality potting soil in your containers will make the chore of watering your plants so much easier. You won’t be able to control the weather, but once you understand how wind, sun and temperature will effects your plants, you will soon develop a watering schedule that will allow your plants to thrive.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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