Are you proud of your backyard oasis? Think you're wise to smart irrigation? Test your knowledge on the best watering techniques by taking this quiz.
1. How often should you water plants?
a) Every day during summer
b) When the leaves begin to wilt
c) 1-2 times a week unless extremely dry or wet
Once plants become established, they no longer need to be watered everyday and they can actually withstand droughts because of deep roots. Waiting until the plant dries and wilts however causes stress on the plant which prevents it from growing strong roots. The correct answer is C. Always monitor the weather to adjust the amount of water given to the plants. Most irrigation systems come with sensors and monitors to automatically adjust the frequency and length of a watering cycle.
2. When is the best time to water plants?
a) Afternoon when plants are driest
b) Early morning
c) Right before sunset
Watering plants at the hottest and sunniest time of the day may cool the plant, but it isn't efficient. Lots of the water evaporates before it ever reaches the roots. Watering during cooler times of the day allows all the water to be absorbed and stored for when the temperatures rise. The correct answer is B. An automated irrigation system allows you to preset the time of the day to water ensuring the optimal time for each zone in the yard.
3. What is the most effective watering technique?
a) A light mist over the entire plant
b) Drip irrigation around the root zone
c) Heavy and fast watering throughout the garden bed
Too light of water flow may evaporate before penetrating the root system. Too heavy of water flow can over saturate the surface and lead to runoff. A slow and thorough drip near the root zone is the most direct and controllable method. The correct answer is B. Any smart irrigation system should consist of drip lines that weave in between the plants. Drip irrigation saves water and lowers the water bill.
4. If a plant’s leaves are wilting, it needs more water.
Just because a plant is struggling and it's leaves are wilting doesn't mean it is lacking water. Test the soil moisture and verify your irrigation system is working properly. Dumping more water on a plant that doesn't need it won't fix the true problem (too much shade, root rot, pests, lack of nutrients, etc.) The correct answer is False.
5. Plants with deep roots…
a) Require more watering
b) Prefer wet soil
c) Are more drought tolerant
Even in the middle of a drought, there is water stored beneath the surface and deep in the soil. A plant that has shallow roots is unable to tap into that deep water. These plants typically prefer wet soil and need to be watered more frequently. Deep roots on the other hand can access the water underground and withstand drought when moisture on the surface dries up. The correct answer is C. Choosing plants that are native and best suited for local weather patterns are most sustainable. These types of plants will require less watering.