FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – As our current stretch of dry weather continues, concerns are rising for the development of a flash drought. It is important to be prepared for this possibility and know how you can properly water your landscape with the least amount of environmental impact as possible.

First off, watering is always best done in the morning hours. This reduces the impact of diseases on plants and allows them to be watered when they are cool. Cold water interacting with a hot plant is not a good combination because it causes stress and some water is lost to evaporation. This is why watering during the afternoon or the peak heat of the day during the early evening is not recommended. By the late evening hours though after sunset when the plants have sufficiently cooled, you can begin watering again.

The morning is the best time to water.

The general rule of thumb is that you should water if the soil six inches below the surface is dry. You want to make sure it is moist to this level after you have watered across the landscape.

The soil should be moist six inches below ground.

If we break this down further though, plants typically need an inch of water per week to do well. This is ideally picked up through weekly rainfall, but efforts will be needed if there is a shortfall of this weekly amount. This one inch of rainfall is equal to about nine gallons of water that fall on a typical rooftop area.

Plants need about an inch of water per week to thrive.

If it does not rain, some plants require more water than others in order to stay healthy. Newly planted trees and large shrubs usually require at least five gallons of water per week. Newly planted perennials require at least three gallons per week. Existing and mature trees and shrubs generally can survive periods of drought without special watering treatments.

Some plants need more water than others to stay healthy.

Another way to keep plants cooler and to conserve water is to mulch around plants. Just be careful not to pile mulch around the base of plants and to keep mulch depths limited to about three inches. A variety of sprinklers also exist, so make sure you choose one that is best for the type of plant you are looking to water.

The information in this story is from the May 2023 edition of Ricky’s Gardening Tips and Tricks and Home Horticulture. This is an online newsletter published by the Purdue Extension Office of Allen County. To subscribe, send an email to