South Florida Fall Garden Watering Guide
The winter months are fast approaching which means preparing our fall gardens to weather the cold season, apart from our fall garden cleanup is ensuring that garden plants are continuing to get adequate water. Sure we may have gotten over the heat wave (summer months) but now is not the time to discontinue watering garden plants because the temperature is starting to drop.
In fact, this is a crucial time especially if your garden plants came out of a dry spell where they did not receive sufficient water and then there are late-season crops and other plant species that are actively growing.
Fall watering may not be intense as during the summer months but keeping your garden and landscape on a watering schedule is just as important during this time of the year. For more on the importance of and how to water your garden during the fall months continue reading as we discuss how to water your South Florida garden in the fall.
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How to Water Your Fall Garden
If you have been giving your plants adequate water during the spring and summer months you have been on your game which is good but as the weather cools your garden plants may not need as much water but that is not to say to stop watering altogether. What you may want to do is to monitor the soil moisture level, and check for dampness by inspecting the top first few inches ( 2-3) of soil.
For larger plants however, with a soil probe you may want to go deep about 6-8 inches because while the top few inches of soil may be damp or moist the soil that’s further down in the plant’s root zone area may be dry so do a thorough inspection for correct readings.
Your garden plants can either be hand-watered with the use of a watering can for potted plants or hose. A drip irrigation system is ideal for garden beds, these systems are low watering that delivers water directly to the plant’s root zone in micro or small amounts. A system like this will not only distribute the right amount of water but will keep your water bill low.
The Soil Type Matters
The soil type really matters, the wrong soil type can cause plants to suffer, for example, if you’re growing a plant that requires the soil to be moist in sandy soil will cause plant decline. The seem is true, if a drought-tolerant plant or a plant that grows best in sandy soil is installed in soils that hold lots of moisture or where the moisture drains slowly can also influence plant health issues.
If you’re planning on installing plants during the fall months ( outdoor or indoor) plants then make sure and get as much information on proper care of that plant including the soil type and the amount of water that’s needed for the plant’s survival. It may be that although you are taking care of plants you may be having some issues but can’t place your finger on the problem it may be a soil (wrong soil type) issue that needs to be corrected or watering incorrectly.
Types of Soil
There are Basically Soil Types
- Chalk Soil
- Sandy Soil
- Silt Soil
- Peaty Soil
- Clay Soil
- Loam Soil
Making Soil Improvements
Making some soil improvements as needed during this time of the year can help as well, whether growing vegetables for a cool season crop, fruit trees, or ornamental or flowering plants the fall months are the ideal time to improve your soil. Better soil quality will encourage healthy plants, and soils that are less compacted will encourage a healthier root system that will lead to healthy growth providing a full or fluffy plant (leaves) with an abundance of blooms.
A soil that’s healthy or nutrient-rich will not only grow plants that are healthy but will also help plants fight diseases and garden insect pests. Some examples of soil amendments are animal manure such as cow, horse, goat, chicken, or rabbit manure. Then there is compost which is a great source of organic matter, peat moss, grassclipping, and leaves which are a few among many amendments that can be used to make soil improvements.
Mulching to Conserve Moisture
There are so many benefits to using mulch, especially because we’re heading into the winter months mulches act as insulators to protect the plant’s root system from the freezing cold. Mulchs will help to conserve water which means you may not need to water as much but remember what was discussed earlier a soil probe or moisture meter is important to keep check on moisture level so continue to use these tools even if you decide to place mulch down.
When to Discontinue Watering
Keeping your garden plants well watered during the fall months is important but the time comes when discontinuing water is just as important as water application. The ideal time to stop watering your plants is when the ground begins to freeze or when the air along with the soil temperatures continually drops below 40° F. Once the ground freezes the top few inches of soil can no longer absorb water. In areas where the ground does not freeze, during the winter months continue to apply water but keep monitoring the soil moisture level.
Applying Water on Your Indoor Garden During Fall
Slow down on watering indoor plants during the fall months because plants slow down from growing. Plants that are grown indoors are in a controlled environment meaning they are more protected from the outside elements although the outside elements can still negatively impact indoor plants for example allowing the plant’s leaves to come in contact or touch windows in the extreme cold.
Every other day or there about check the soil with a soil probe, a moisture meter, or even the top few inches of soil with your finger to determine the soil moisture.
- If plants are healthy going into the winter months because they are not water stress can survive winter damage
- When caring for indoor, potted, or container-grown plants ensure that the container has drain holes for excess water to drain because if water is allowed to remain will lead to root rot that can eventually kill your plants
- Plants that are container-grown can be brought indoors or carried to a secure location until winter has passed
- When attempting to move container-grown plants to a more secure environment get help if needed when it comes to lifting. A trolly will make it easy when moving container plants.
The final word on how to water your South Florida garden in the fall
During the fall months, plants may not grow as vigorously or slow down until the warmer season returns, knowing how much water your plants receive will determine how your plants thrive and go into and through the winter months. This fall watering guide will help you as you prepare your garden plants for the winter months, fall is the time when plants are preparing to take their rest as they head into winter so let’s help them by ensuring that they receive adequate water so when spring arrives they will once again go to work for you.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.