07 Nov Is It Time to Stop Watering Your Garden?
In the summer, when it’s hot and dry, watering your garden often seems like a necessary chore to keep plants healthy and flourishing. But as the weather cools and rainfall increases in the fall, is it time to hang up the hose and let Mother Nature do her job?
You’re not alone if you’re unsure about when to stop watering your garden in the fall. Many gardeners struggle with this decision, but experts say that while it is true that gardens need less water in autumn, they definitely still need some.
Read on for some tips on how to determine when and how much to water your fall garden.
Autumn Irrigation for Your Garden
The number of rainfall decreases as the season changes from summer to autumn. This fact, in addition to the shorter days and cooler temperatures, means that evaporation rates are also lower. However, plants still need water to survive and thrive.
Even now as the soil starts to harden and the plants prepare for winter, they still require a sufficient water supply. In fact, watering in the fall is crucial for plants that will stay alive through the winter and come back stronger in the spring.
Tip: A good rule of thumb is to water your garden deeply and less frequently, rather than lightly and more often. This helps encourage plants’ roots to grow deeper, enhancing their ability to withstand dry spells.
Importance of Watering in Fall
For most plants, autumn is the perfect time for root growth and development. Water is crucial for this process, as well as helping plants store energy for the winter. Additionally, watering in the fall prevents plants from becoming too dry and brittle, which can lead to damage or even death during cold weather.
Another benefit of watering your garden in autumn is that it helps prepare the ground for spring planting. Wet soil is easier to work with and dig into. If you’re planning on replanting some of your gardens come spring, make sure to give them a good soaking now so that they will be ready when you need them.
When to Stop Autumn Irrigation?
The only time you should stop watering in fall is when the ground starts to freeze. During this time, ice locks in moisture under the soil, and blocks the water from reaching the roots. This usually starts in early to mid-December.
But don’t worry about your plants not getting enough moisture in winter. As long as you’ve had it watered just enough in autumn, it should survive the cold temperatures. When it is frozen with the ground, it enters a state of dormancy where it won’t be needing irrigation (since they are like sleeping).
After you’ve stopped watering, make sure that the hoses are already stored away properly to prevent them from freezing.
Is it Time to Stop Watering Your Garden?
There is no set answer to this question. Ultimately, it depends on the specific needs of your plants and garden, as well as our local weather conditions here in Kelowna. But to guide your decision, here are important questions to consider:
Is the ground frozen or waterlogged? Stop watering your garden.
As we said earlier, frozen soil cannot absorb any more water, and excessive watering can lead to drainage problems and root damage. So, monitor the soil conditions in your garden to determine when it’s time to stop watering.
Has there been any rainfall recently? Stop watering your garden.
Sometimes, Mother Nature does the job for us and provides enough rain for our gardens. So, when it rains consistently in autumn, check if your lawn has received sufficient rain (about 1 inch per week). If that’s the case, you only need to water the areas that have been overseeded. However, if it is a dry autumn, water your lawn as you would during summer.
Are your plants showing signs of drought stress? Keep watering your garden.
Wilting or browning foliage can be a sign that plants are not getting enough water. Continue to monitor and water as needed until the ground freezes.
Keep Your Garden Thriving in Autumn
So, is it a good idea to stop watering in autumn? Definitely not. Watering your garden in autumn is still important even though the weather has cooled down. This is because plants are still growing and expending energy during this season. Just be careful not to overwater them as this may put your lawn at risk of diseases.