Water is an essential building block to all life on Earth, and plants are no exception. Thorough watering is absolutely critical to establishing healthy root systems; especially in areas experiencing drought or subjected to limited rainfall. Water not only provides hydration, but also acts as a vehicle for other nutrients. It breaks down nutrients, such as those found in fertilizer, making them more efficient and easier for the plant to consume. Without water seeds cannot germinate or survive. If your plants have nothing else, make sure they’re getting some quality H2O.
Just like humans, water makes up a significant portion of a plant; it’s a source of strength. A plant deprived of water will wilt or droop, but a well-watered plant will maintain its shape. Most plants get their water from the soil, so it’s important to establish a healthy nutrient-rich soil as well. Having an adequate water supply is paramount to a plants growth, but too much water, however, can have the opposite effect; plants essentially drown in the excess. Concerned that your soil may be too wet or too dry? Use the finger test. Stick your finger into the soil; if soil sticks to your finger it’s just right, if not then water thoroughly and check back in a few days.
It’s fairly easy for your plants to receive too much water, and in some cases it’s unavoidable. Heavy rainfall can waterlog entire communities and make it very difficult for plants to survive. Fortunately, there are ways to improve and condition your soil for a wet (or dry) climate, by changing its composition. Sandy soils have large pores and tend to drain very fast; creating a dry environment for plants. Clay soils have very tiny pores; trapping water and not allowing it to drain, or blocking water from reaching the roots at all. In both cases, incorporating organic matter into the soil (such as compost), is a viable solution. The organic matter adds nutrients and helps to balance soil density.
Check out this cool video from New Frontiers below to learn more about watering your plants. There’s also a great demonstration that shows how much water roots will actually absorb. Spoiler Alert: It’s a lot!!!