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When is best time to water plants?

When is the best time to water plants in the heat of the summer?   

Plants have to be watered, especially in extreme conditions and record-breaking temperatures. If the plants are not watered, it can wreak havoc – but knowing the best time to water can be tricky.

Evening watering gives plenty of time for the water to penetrate the soil and for the plant to take it up, but there is a concern that leaves staying damp overnight will provide access to disease.

Morning watering means leaves will dry out faster, and there is less opportunity for the water to penetrate the soil and for plants to take it up before the day gets hot.

Plants should not be watered while in full sun because most of the water will evaporate before entering the soil.

So what’s the answer?

It is probably best to water in the early evening. This gives the plants enough time to dry out, but there is still the chance for overnight water uptake by the roots.

If you want to water in the morning, then start very early – before the sun is shining.

The Cultura Garden Club members monitor the watering of the pots, hanging baskets and spruce tree downtown. A lot of time and investment have been put into maintaining these plants that add to the beautification of our city.

With the support of Shannon Wilson and the Russellville Street Department, these pots and hanging baskets are watered daily.  The city workers water very early, and the garden club members water in the evening.

When watering, the key thing is to ensure that all layers of the soil in the root zone are wet. Regular light watering causes shallow rooting of plants and makes them less drought tolerant. So water plants thoroughly – and don’t let the soil completely dry out because it becomes harder to wet at that stage.

Plants growing in hanging baskets can dry out quickly, and there is a need to line baskets to help the soil retain moisture. Because Coco coir liners are thick, long-lasting and absorbent, they will hold water and release it slowly to keep the soil moist. Plastic bags can also be used as a liner for baskets but are not as environmentally friendly.

Before adding soil and the plants to the basket, our club members use Coco coir liners for the baskets. At the bottom of the basket, a clear plastic plate with a little water and a wet sponge are placed to help the soil retain moisture. This method has been helpful in retaining water for the baskets.

The spruce tree is watered weekly by club women. In extreme heat it is watered two times a week. Ten gallons of water are used for each watering. 

Plants can have too much of a good thing, and while the surface might be dry, the soil 15-20 centimeters down might not be. So be careful and don’t overwater your plants.