The Importance of Water

Water, that most precious of resources. It is the basis of all life forms, without which we, our gardens, and all the creatures who inhabit them could not survive. In recent years we have been faced with significant drought conditions. While lawn turf will go dormant in times of drought and then green up when rains return, this is not the case with our ornamental plantings. To help our gardens cope, we need to ensure they have sufficient water but at the same time, we don’t want to see our water bills go through the roof!  

Newly planted trees and shrubs are the most sensitive to water deprivation. Ensuring that water reaches the roots is critical to the plant’s survival. And even established trees and shrubs will appreciate periodic watering in times of drought.  

There are several ways this can be accomplished in a water-wise manner: 

  1. Leave a hose on a slow trickle at the base of the plant sufficient to soak the root mass. 
  2. Slowly pour large buckets of water around the plant, allowing each bucket full to soak into the soil. 
  3. Hook up a dripper hose on a timer which will relieve you of the burden of finding time in your busy schedule. 
  4. Know which of your perennials are more drought tolerant (ex. Sedum, Coneflower, Yarrow) and those which need regular watering to look their best. Using a watering can or a hose on a very gentle trickle applied at the base of the plant is the best way to apply water where it is needed most.  


Sedum are drought tolerant plants.


When and how much we water our plants is of course influenced by how much rain we receive. While it is tempting to skip your watering duties when we get a light afternoon shower, be mindful that a light shower is not likely to be enough to soak the depth of the root ball. This year our plants are particularly stressed because they did not have an insulating blanket of snow to help protect them from drying out and in addition, our Spring rainfall total is well below average. Knowing that established plants require at least an inch of water every week, it is helpful to keep an eye on your weather app or an old-fashioned rain gauge to track weekly totals. 

And remember, most plants prefer deep infrequent waterings to frequent shallow ones. See our planting guide for more information!