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During the summer, the gardens certainly show us their best sides: abundant blooms, lush foliage, vigorous growths; to get all this our care must be assiduous, in addition to specific fertilizers, mulches and repottings we must always remember that plants are living beings and that, like us after all, they need water to survive, especially during the months when the rains cannot help us.
Any gardener, hobbyist or expert, would like to find in this field a "miraculous recipe", a hard rule to follow always during the year, to have a beautiful garden, and even a green corner, in the apartment, that can amaze friends ; unfortunately, as far as watering is concerned, there are no hard and fast rules, each of us must forcefully consider various elements, before deciding whether it is the right time to water, or if we should wait.
Even without dictating generic laws, we can examine the variables that lengthen or shorten the intervals between watering, in order to know how to evaluate them, and to consider in the right measure when to supply water to our plants.
Regardless of the seasons and the place of cultivation, every single species and variety of plant has its own particular needs regarding water needs; for example azaleas and camellias need regular watering, and a soil that remains moist for a long time, while many cactaceae prefer sporadic watering, with a well-dry soil. When buying plants that we like the most, let us know about their basic needs, so as to avoid blunders. If the nurseryman is not able to help us we can find useful information also in many manuals, or compare the climatic conditions of our garden with those of the place of origin of the plants we have chosen: plants originating from the Mediterranean areas generally require little watering frequent, while perennials of Alpine origin often prefer regular watering.
Also the positioning in the garden is of fundamental importance, in fact exposure to direct sunlight and winds can cause a rapid desiccation of the soil, and a greater evaporation of water from the leaves of plants.
Each type of soil, then, absorbs water differently: well-drained, loose soils, rich in sand or small stones, dry very quickly; peaty soils, with a lot of organic matter, instead tend to maintain humidity for a long time.
A thick mulch renewed every year, consisting of bark or straw, keeps the soil cool and moist longer.
If the soil and climate of our garden are very characteristic then it is perhaps good to consider these elements when designing the garden itself, choosing the most suitable plants, so as to reduce the care needed to keep the plants healthy. So let us inform ourselves before planting the plants, or ask a gardener or nurseryman for advice. Often plants considered "difficult" in some places, give, in areas with different climate, incredible results, with little care.
Watering: Watering method
Some indications on the most correct method to supply water to the garden are necessary; first of all let us remember that the best time to water is early morning, around five or six o'clock: during the hours of the day the water on the leaves can cause burns to the plants and the sun causes a rapid evaporation; in the evening hours the soil is very hot, the water evaporates quickly and the latter causes a thermal shock to the roots of the plants. If we can only water during the evening hours we try to do it as late as possible, when the ground is already cooling down.
In the winter months instead we choose the hours of the day to water, possibly the most lukewarm ones, during periods that are not very sunny: the night hours with clear skies are generally those that bring the most severe frosts in January-February.
In order to favor the development of vigorous and well developed downward root systems, we try to wet the soil deeply, preferring to water it abundantly every two to three days, rather than light daily watering.
We always proceed trying to wet the base of the plants, avoiding to spray the leaves too much, which will be vaporized occasionally, or in case of lack of rain.
If we can afford it, we equip the garden with an automatic irrigation system, which will allow us to water the plants in the most favorable hours, even when we are absent for a few days. Let us remember however to evaluate the quantity of water to be supplied to the garden, modifying the watering program according to the season, and equipping the timer with a rain sensor, so as not to water in the event of atmospheric precipitation. In the positioning of the various species in our land, we take into account the water requirements, so that we can plan the watering for each individual area.