AZ Arboretums

Water Usage

There is no easy answer to the question: “How often should I water my plants during the heat of the summer?” To say the least, there are multiple variables to consider. It is necessary to think of things like: Are your plants native or non-native, irrigated or not, potted or ground planted, shade or full sun…. etc, etc. The condition of your soil, and location of your home are also important factors in determining your watering schedule. If you notice stress in a plant that you believe to be water related, the best idea is to do research on that individual plant before drastically changing your treatment of it. Some plants, like the ocotillo, are supposed to drop their leaves in the summer. Others, like the hibiscus, should definitely not defoliate. Thus, general watering advice is hard to give. However here are a few pointers that may be of assistance in your stressful summer of gardening:

Some signs of under watering:
Leaves are curling and brown around the edges, crispy to the touch
New growth is drying up and dying
Stems or branches die back
Leaves remain wilted and droopy, even during times when plant is not in direct sunlight
Cacti become wrinkly and shriveled

Some signs of over watering:
Soil is constantly damp and mildew or mold begin to form on the surface
Young shoots are wilted or drooping
Leaves are green, yet brittle
Base or parts of plant begin to rot
Plant or soil begin to smell

Water Schedule:
Trees (Desert Adapted) 7-21 days
Trees (High Water Use) 7-10 days
Shrubs (Desert Adapted) 7-21 days
Shrubs (High Water Use) 5-7 days
Groundcovers/Vines (Desert Adapted) 
7-21 days
Groundcovers/Vines (High Water Use) 
2-5 days
Cacti And Other Succulents 14-30
Annuals 2-5 days
Warm Season Grass 3-5 days
Cool Season Grass none