Everything you need to know about watering your garden

Knowing when, how and why to water your garden could make the difference between a bountiful display and a dry, withered patch. And depending on the types of plants you’re growing – or planning to grow – you might need to pay even more attention to the way you water.

But water is a precious resource, and if the UK sees a shortage during summer, it’s not uncommon for the government or local authorities to call a hosepipe ban. Using water from your taps and hose responsibly is important and reduces the public health impact of drought in your local community.

Your garden needs to be watered regardless, so it’s always worth learning about the best timings, techniques and strategies for watering your garden.

How often should I water my garden in the UK?

Most parts of the UK have a mild, wet climate – but don’t be fooled into thinking that means you don’t need to water your garden. Watering is key to growing plants successfully, especially if you’d like your garden to bloom at certain times of year.

There are several factors that might affect how frequently you need to water your garden. These might include:

  • Species, size, and growth stage

Along with your plant’s development, its size and species make a big difference to its watering requirements. Generally, larger plants need more water. This is because plants with more leaves are more likely to lose the water you give them – and they also need extra nutrients to grow fruit and flowers. These nutrients are taken up through the roots after being dissolved in water, making watering possible.

  • Texture and structure of soil

Plants can’t extract every drop of water from the soil. Even if the soil feels damp, the plant can still suffer and wilt – but it all depends on the type of soil too. Sandy soils need smaller amounts of water than clay soils but should be watered more frequently. Knowing how to care for your soil is essential.

  • Weather and season

Though it might sound obvious, the weather conditions and time of year play an important role in determining how much water your plants use and need. They will ‘drink’ more in warm, sunny weather and less in the cooler months.

How do I know if my garden needs watering?

There are a few certain ways to know that your lawn or plants might need some hydration! Look out for the following signs:

  • Foliage or fruit production seems sparse or slow in growth progress
  • Leaves have changed position, or start to point downwards
  • Pots feel lighter in weight
  • Wilting, but this could also point to overwatering
  • Dull leaves and stems with no shine

Which are the best ways to water a garden?

Plants take up water through their roots. The water you give them needs to reach the ends (tips) of their roots, not the top of the soil or leaves. Watering thoroughly, but less frequently, should help you to ensure that the water goes where it needs to.

In hotter climates, frequent and generous watering is vital. If you’re planning on using an irrigation system to maintain this consistency, water pumps like those from RS could be an efficient way to keep your garden healthy through the summer.

Where drainage is poor or difficult, you need to choose plants that are suited to both dry and wet conditions. Roots are very susceptible to damage and decay in overly damp or airless conditions, so you always need to plan your garden carefully.

Overview: Keeping your garden in top health

Watering is the best way to boost nature’s potential in your garden. Adopting an effective watering strategy will safeguard your crops and flowers for years to come, especially once you find and follow a pattern that works for your plants.

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