EDITION: June - August '07


Vicente Cleries


When we think about gardens, we should take into account the large amount of water that they are going to need in summer, whereas in winter with normal rainfall, watering is not necessary.

As I understand it, making good use of water is avoiding excess amounts when we are watering. Water that runs off is wasted on the plants. If you notice when it rains heavily, water does not soak into the ground, but when it rains slowly, the water is absorbed into the soil and it is moist down to 1 m. or more, depending on the time or duration of the rain.

Therefore, applying this theory, we can use drip-watering systems, which use between two and four litres an hour and this water is absorbed by the plants.

Depending on the type of plant being watered, i.e. if the plant has a very deep root system like large trees, we will have to water it for longer, but fewer times and if we have smaller plants with more superficial roots we should water more often but with for shorter periods of time.

There are also rain detection systems on the market now and if we have the watering dial programmed, it will not start up when it rains.

Watering times for drip systems depend on the type of soil, whether it is sandy or contains clay. Sandy soils lose humidity earlier in the top-soil but maintain humidity at deeper levels. It also depends on the incline, as the higher areas will always dry out earlier than the lower areas and also if the land is in full shade or has full sun.

I, who have seen many gardens, find myself in many very different situations. Sometimes the gardener or the garden owner wants to water it so much that I see a waste of water. On other occasions, I find that the garden has a drip watering system installed, but the distribution is incorrect. Consequently, we are not uniformly watering the soil around the plants; we only water half a tree, with the ensuing problem of nourishment. Other times the drip systems are old and blocked due to lime scale, there are leaks in the pipes due to breakages and this leads to water loss so we don’t actually water the area well. It is necessary to check out the whole installation at the beginning of the season (in March).

As far as flowerpot watering is concerned, if we see that the water leaks out from the wall of the pot and comes out of the drainage hole, the plants or the earth in the pot does not really get soaked well and we are using the water without really watering effectively. In this case, we should loosen up the soil and cover it with bark or gravel to save water so that when we water it does not evaporate so quickly. Of course, it is good that the excess water comes out of the drainage hole.

If we use good criteria to water the garden or flowerpots, we will see that we need less water. With a bit of common sense, we will be more ecological.