Watering Tips to Survive the Drought

Updated: Jan 11

As you may have heard, we are in a state of moderate drought here in Seattle. It is important to water to maintain the health of your plant material. But questions come up. How much water should you use? How often should you water? Here are some tips.

  • Water in early morning or early evening when it is cooler and water evaporates more slowly.

  • Don't guess at how dry your soil is. Check it by digging down a few inches. If the top inch or so is dry, that's fine, but if it is dry at the three inch level, you need to water. There are also inexpensive moisture meters you can use to check.

  • Remember - low and slow is best. You want to water deeply to encourage deep, healthy root systems.

  • Use soaker hoses threaded through garden beds, turned on low for an hour. If there's a long distance between the outdoor faucet and the area where the soakers are located, use a regular garden hose to attach them. That way, you won't waste water. Use quick connect couplers to make it easy to attach a supply hose to the soakers.

  • Afraid you'll forget and leave the water on too long? Hardware stores carry simple, inexpensive timers that can be attached to the faucet or the end of the garden hose that is attached to the soaker hose.

  • Or drill a small 1/4" hole in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket, put it into a shrub bed, fill it with water and let it seep out. Move the bucket to another spot, fill with water, repeat. This method can also be used to water trees.

  • Tree and shrub borders need to be watered once a week.

  • Vegetable gardens need to be watered two or three times a week.

  • A standard rule of thumb for watering new trees is that they need 10 gallons of water for every 1" caliper. An easy way to care for your new tree is to use a tree watering bag. The video below shows how to use one.

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