When to water plants

Foliage becomes dull when water is lacking. This is the correct time to apply water. If you wait until leaves and stems wilt the plant will suffer. Another test is to check the soil moisture content 5-10cm below the surface. Dig a small hole with a trowel – the soil at the bottom should be moist to the touch and darker than the surface soil.

The amount of water needed to restore the correct soil moisture level varies considerably. Small shrubs may need about 5 litres (1 gallon) per plant and a tree may need 20 litres (4 gallons) or more. Smaller plants are best given an overall watering, about 10-20 litres per square metre.

When planting out delicate seedlings – including vegetables – set them in a shallow depression rather than level with the surface, firm in very gently, then water in with a watering can or hose pipe until a puddle forms in the ‘well’.

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