Probably the most common question we get here at Fasel & Sons is: "How should I water it?"
There are only 2 methods we need to learn about watering: watering containers and watering plants in the ground.
There's also only 1 simple rule: Water it when it gets dry.
Containers use more water than things in the ground. Remember that plants in the ground can search for and get more water by growing their roots deeper and wider. Plants in containers though only get what we give to them. They can't grow their roots out past the container walls to get more. Outdoor containers, flower pouches, and hanging baskets need to be checked for water daily, especially during the hot summer months. Either lift up on the pot and feel it's weight (dry pots are lighter than wet pots) or stick a finger an inch or two into the soil. If it feels like a damp sponge you're probably ok for the day. If it's dry though, it's time to water.
When watering, we want to make sure to have a thorough drenching. There should be no such thing as a light watering. We either drench it or we don't touch it. Light waterings create all kinds of problems which can include root rot, fungus, and disease. We should add enough water that it starts to come out the holes in the bottom of the pot. If our pot doesn’t have holes, it's a good idea to make some so you can water properly.
After drenching, give the plant 5 or 10 minutes and drench it again. This ensures that the soil has had a chance to soak up as much as it can. Don't worry, you'll never "drown" your plants by watering them too much at any given time. We water twice because sometimes dry soils actually resist water at first.
Watering Plants in the Ground
(Including the Lawn)
Plants in the ground should only be watered once a week, though it's still best to check and see if they need it, lawns included. Spacing out the waterings to only weekly encourages a strong, deep root system that can handle abuse and remain vigorous during heat stress.
The best way to do this for individual plants is to turn the hose to a trickle, like you would if you were going to drink out of it and place it at the base of the plant for 15 to 20 minutes. If you're worried about forgetting to shut it off, just set a timer on your phone (I know this is what I always have to do because I've forgotten a few too many times). This gives the water a chance to soak the area deeply.
For a lawn, sprinklers should be set to run once a week and timed to put down one inch of water. This simulates the one inch of rainfall they are supposed to receive each week. If it rains enough for the week (you can check rainfall totals online), turn off your sprinkler until next week.
One Important Rule:
Keep The Leaves Dry!
First, plants can't take in that much water through their leaves. That's like assuming if you were thirsty, you could just go take a bath. The vast majority of water is taken in through the roots. That's why they have them!
Second, if you consistently get the leaves of your plants wet, you'll likely end up with some sort of fungal problem. Certain plants are more susceptible to this than others, but the best practice is to just water the soil!