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FAQ: How often and how much should I water in the summer?

A: That’s a tricky question. There are no hard and fast rules for watering (it depends on the soil, type of plant, weather, and other factors), but a quick and easy tip is to check your soil. Use your hand or a trowel to dig a couple inches down into the soil to see if it is dry or moist. If the soil is dry, then you know it’s time to water.



Here are some other tips to make watering efficient—to conserve a precious resource and save you time and money:

  • Water deeply, but less frequently. An hour after watering, check the soil again to see if the water has reached the root zone. Adjust your watering time to moisten the whole root zone, but then wait until the upper few inches of soil are dry before watering again. This will encourage deeper roots for a stronger plant.
  • Water slowly and give water time to penetrate. If you don’t give water time to penetrate, you can risk over watering. Too much water can cause soil to be oxygen deficient. Remember that plants (and their roots) need a balance of water and oxygen to thrive.
  • Get water right to the roots. Consider using a watering wand for small areas, and drip irrigation or soaker hoses for larger areas. Getting water directly to roots is not only efficient, it can also prevent fungal diseases since fungi thrive in humid, moist conditions like on leaves that remain wet.
  • Water early or late in the day to reduce evaporation. Watering during dawn or dusk also protects your skin from the sun’s harsh rays.

Click here to learn more about how often and how much to water, including general watering guidelines for trees, shrubs, and lawns. You can also call the experts at the Garden Hotline at (206) 633-0224 or email

Remember: watering wisely not only saves you money on your utility bill, it helps ensure that we’ll have enough water for generations—of people and wildlife—to come.