Guide to Videos about Watering

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The number one way we gardeners kill plants is by improper watering. Far too often, garden center customers return with newly-dead plants asking for replacement, saying “I promised I watered it,” while the staff knows full well the problem was too little or incorrect watering.

Despite the need for gardener education on this topic, there are very few videos about how to water new or established trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals.

Here are the watering videos that GGVideos has been able to find that provide accurate, helpful information for the home gardener without an irrigation system.

Established plants (in place at least a year)

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WATERING SHRUBS AND TREES” isn’t a high-tech production but the advice is sound and the video demonstrates well. Warns against thundershowers doing any good. Warns that surface watering isn’t adequate and that thunderstorms can’t be counted on to soak deeply enough. For “larger plants” it recommends a slow drip and demonstrates the root zone to be soaked by holding up the pot the plant came in. For the 3′ tall evergreen in the example, the speaker recommends letting the slow drip run 5-10 minutes and for a 8-10′ tree, 15-25 minutes. During hot periods without rain, watering every 2-3 days is recommended. Video by Jim Jenkins Lawn & Garden Center in Pittsburgh.

HOW TO WATERby Melinda Myers has quick tips for watering containers, established in-ground plants, and lawn.

HOW TO WATER NATIVE (OR ANY) PLANTS” is a conversation between two experts, with no demonstration and almost no images. Still the information is great and dispels the myth that native plants don’t need watering. The amount of water needed by a plant depends on where it’s growing – how much sun and win, and how quickly the soil drains – so choose the right plant for the spot. After thunderstorms, check to see how deep the soil moisture goes. Make sure mulch isn’t preventing water from reaching roots. Wilting by plants could mean they’re just getting acclimated, so feel the soil. Avoid watering a little bit every day; much better is less frequent but deep watering. An episode of Central Texas Gardener, with an expert from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It’s long: 10+ minutes.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I WATER MY PLANTS? is a question answered by a nursery in Florida. There are no visuals – a video flaw we try to avoid here – but he knows his stuff. Warns of overwatering: “You do not need to water every day.” His rule of thumb is a “good dowsing” twice a week. “Let it sink on down into the ground.” By Hawkins Corner Nursery.

WATERING TREES AND SHRUBS IN THE FALL” warns gardener NOT to stop watering when it cools down in the fall. Helpfully demonstrates with a blue spruce, which doesn’t show signs of needing watering.  From the University of Wyoming Extension.

New plantings

“WATERWISE WAYS TO ESTABLISH YOUR NEW PLANTS” by Joe Lamp’l of PBS’s “Growing a Greener World. Joe demonstrates the 3 best ways to water new plants – hand-watering, drip irrigation, and overhead irrigation.

HOW TO WATER TREES, SHRUBS, PERENNIALS, GROUNDCOVERS & ANNUALS by a landscaping contractor demonstrates technique and duration of hand-watering – NOT the slow-drip method – for newly installed plants of each type. This method is preferred by many gardeners who find it a hassle to keep moving the hose every 10 or more minutes. (Yes, we wish the camera had been held horizontally, but the information is just so helpful. It’s all demonstration!) From B. Rushing Lawn and Landscaping in N. Virginia.

HOW TO WATER A NEW TREE OR SHRUB” recommends a slow trickle 20-30 minutes about twice a week for new tree. (No time water-epstein-001is given for a new shrub but presumably it’s much less.) From B.J. Benkens garden center Cincinnati, OH.

Containers

WATERING POTTED PLANTS AND CONTAINERS demonstrates watering of potted herbs in particular, explains how to tell if they need water (if they droop, the soil is dry, or the pot is very light). Stresses need to let pots dry out between waterings. By horticulturist Dave Epstein of Growing Wisdom.

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Lawn

Most lawn-watering advice assumes that lawns MUST be green all summer. It’s past time for change that wasteful mindset. Gradually, more experts are encouraging homeowners to let cool-season lawns go dormant in the summer: “Brown is the new green.” Here are some videos from conservation-conscious sources.
BE WATER-SMART: LAWN-WATERING TIPS explains how to reduce disease AND save on water (and money). Even recommends reducing lawn size! One tip they omitted is mowing higher, which reduces the need to water. From the City of London, Ontario.

HOW TO WATER YOUR LAWN” recommends using a screwdriver, spade or soil probe to check moisture level before automatically watering. Water early in a.m. And the expert assures homeowners that it’s normal for cool-season grasses to go dormant in the summer but that they WILL green up again in the fall. Irrigation is only needed if you want a lawn that’s green all summer. By Kansas State.

More videos needed

  • More actual demonstrations, please!
  • Topics that need to be covered include the ones in the excellent “How to Water” by Behnke Nurseries in Maryland. Perennial buyer Larry Hurley briefly explains how to water: lawns; hanging baskets; containers; newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials; established plants; grey water, rain barrels and “eco-stuff.” Excellent info! Now let’s see it all demonstrated.

Photo credits: sprinkler via Flickr, garden hose via Flickr.