Deep Root Watering

Deep root watering your plants in your garden can save you time, water, and money.

Most importantly, however, deep root watering promotes lush and vigorous growth. Here’s how Bill Watson explains deep root watering.

Deep Root Watering your plants can be easily done and should be practiced for many reasons:

1. Deep root watering promotes lush and vigorous growth, no matter what varieties of plants you grow.

2. Deep root watering saves water.

3. In depth watering encourages the development of strong, active root systems.

4. Watering deeply every so often encourages the roots to go deep, looking for food and water, which is exactly what we want them to do.

5. This method of deep watering your plants reduces maintenance. You irrigate less often, say once every 1 to 2 weeks; however, each time, you irrigate more and more deeply

Caution: Seedlings and fresh plantings (less than a month old), will always need more water until their root systems have started to expand and become established.

It’s best to wait until your seedlings and fresh plantings start to show new growth before you begin a deep root watering gardening program for them. Even then, slowly introduce them to this system.

Tip: Flower gardening plants in hot, sun-drenched areas of your garden, will generally need to be watered more often, but you can off-set this by choosing plants that are “drought tolerant.”

Cooler, shady areas will need much less water.

The Deep Root Watering Method Explained:

1. To allow the water to penetrate and not run off, till or loosen the top one-inch layer of soil in the flower gardening plant bed.

Be careful around newer plantings, as some of the roots will be nearer the surface and will be fragile.

2. For better results, use a good water nozzle, one that breaks the water flow into multiple, gentle streams.

3. If possible, add a good mulch on top of your garden bed, about 1 to 2 inches thick.

Mulch helps retain moisture, protect roots from temperature extremes, and keep weeds down to a minimum.

4. Start watering at a point in your yard that you can work your way back to. Slowly work your way around your garden.

5. Make sure to thoroughly water each individual plant and any open or unplanted area around them.

For a typical 10′ x 3′ bed, spend 5 minutes watering; then slowly work your way around the rest of your garden.

6. Now you’re done for about a week, depending upon the weather.

As you condition your plants to a deep watering system you will slowly stretch the length of time between waterings.

Your goal is to drive the water deep into the ground, and thoroughly saturate the soil to about 12 to 14 inches deep to create a reservoir of moisture below the roots.

As the upper part of the bed dries out, the roots will seek the water that’s stored below them. This encourages a deeper root system which is healthier and better able to tolerate low water conditions.

When you first start a deep watering program, you’ll want to monitor younger plants, and plants in hot areas of the garden.

For any plants starting to wilt, water them deeply again. Over time you will find that watering twice, or even once a month will be all an established plant needs, depending upon specific species or variety of plant.

Tip: Annuals need about 1 inch of water per week. Low-growing annuals like pansies will have naturally shallow root systems and although a deep watering program will encourage deeper roots, any plant with a shallow root system will require more regular waterings.

You can offset this tendency by planting annuals in cooler areas of your garden or using taller plants to shade surrounding areas (creating a gardening microclimate).

As with most gardening activities, you may need to adjust this process to suit your particular growing conditions.

About the Author:

With over 20 years of gardening and landscaping experience, Bill Watson now shares his tips and advice on maintaining lush and healthy gardens. Visit his website at For webmasters, visit

Hope you found this article useful.

I’ll see you on the next post.

Happy gardening!



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