Efficient irrigation saves precious water for people, salmon and other wildlife. And that’s not all! Poor watering practices are among the most common causes of plant problems. Watering either too much or not enough produces weak plants that are susceptible to pests and diseases. Learn to give plants the right amount of water for healthy growth, and to apply it so every drop counts.
Plan Your Garden For Efficient Watering
Plant selection, soil preparation and your watering system’s performance all play a part in deciding how much water your garden needs and how easy it is to water effectively. At every stage of garden planning, consider how your decisions will affect watering.
Group plants according to their water needs. Some plants need regular water to do their best. Many others will not need to be watered after the first few years in the garden, if properly sited and planted. Group plants with similar needs into areas that can be watered by the same sprinkler or irrigation zone, so all plants receive just what they need. See the “Choosing the Right Plant” fact sheet for help selecting plants whose needs will be met by your site, with little or no supplemental watering after they become established.
Build absorbent soil with compost and mulch. Good soil makes watering easier and more effective. Mix compost into the soil when planting and mulch established beds each year to help soil absorb and store water for plants. See the Growing Healthy Soil” fact sheet for details.
Water lawns separately from other plants. Lawns need more water, more frequently than many other plants to stay healthy and green. Watering other planting areas along with lawn may encourage shallow roots, poor growth and disease. Design and lay out lawns, other planting areas and irrigation systems to make it easy to water the areas separately.
Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation on trees, shrubs and planting beds. Both apply water directly to the soil with minimal evaporation or runoff. They also help prevent plant diseases and make watering gardens easier. See the back page of this factsheet for more information about drip and soaker irrigation.