Irrigation of plants requires attention to three factors:
1. Amount ( How much to apply?)
2. Timing (How often to apply?)
3. Rate ( How fast will the soil take it?)
AMOUNT depends on on the specific types of plants grown. Lawns require up to 4 inches of water per week in the summer, but as little as 1 inch in the winter. Every time you water, apply enough to penetrate the soil deep enough to wet the entire root zone. Shallow rooted (8-10 inches) plants like lawns, flowers and vegetables require water to a 12 inch depth but more frequently than deep rooted ( 18 to 24 inches) trees and shrubs. A quick method to determine water penetration is to push a long screwdriver or metal bar in the soil after an irrigation. Resistance increases as the tool approaches the dry soil.
TIMING: or how often to irrigate depends on the type of soil being irrigated and the water penetration into the soil. Shallow irrigations for shallow rooted plants in sandy soils require more frequent irrigations. Heavier clay-like soils hold more water and require less frequent irrigations. The longest irrigations timings will be for deep rooted plants such as trees in heavy clay soils.
Beware of mixing shallow and deep rooted plants together under the same irrigation system in a heavy soil or the results can be a disaster.
RATE: to apply water depends on the irrigation systems, application rate and the type of soil. The application rate should not exceed the rate water drains into the soil. If the rate is too high, water puddles in low spots or urns down the street; then more frequent and shorter irrigations might be necessary to wet the entire root system.
Every landscape and irrigation system is different, so there are no constant numbers for How much water do I apply? or How many minutes should I water? The proper answer is, It depends.
It depends on:
The time of year.
the specific plant being watered and their demand for water.
The soil type
When watering your yard remember to:
1. Water the entire root zone of each plant.
2. Water more frequently in sandy soils, less frequently in heavier soils.
3. If water runs off , change to more frequent but shorter cycles.
4. Dig down occasionally and check for moisture.
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