Question of the Week
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The key to knowing how much to water is knowing your soil. If you have heavy clay soil, you water less often. If you have sandy or rocky soil, you will need to water more often.
But whatever your soil, when you water by hand, let the water pool up (or bubble up) around each of the areas that you're watering. Move onto another area and water it until it bubbles up. Then come back and water your first plants again. Go back to the second area. You may need to do this three times.
You want the water to soak into the soil. If it's just watering the top, it won't make it the roots you want to nourish.
Larger plants, like new shrubs, will take more time than small young plants.
The best test: stick your finger in the soil to see how deep it is wet. You want to get the water deep into the soil to encourage roots to grow deep. Also, the water on top will evaporate quickly. Spend a little time to get the water deep into the soil.
And get to know your plants! Just because they wilt at 4 p.m. doesn't mean they need water. Check the soil to see if it's still moist. Some plants are especially sensitive to too much water and will rot.
In the morning, check to see if they are still wilting. If so, give them a deep drink, again, allowing the water to pool or bubble and settle in.