Water Application


Ideally one should apply water at a steady rate, in effect at a rate that emulates steady rainfall.

Too much water at once can cause soil erosion and compaction, plus it can wash away nutrients.

There are many types of equipment available to the amateur gardener for applying water to the soil, each with there own benefits and / or drawbacks, here are a few:

Watering cans:

The main advantage of the watering can is that each plant is more likely to get an amount of water relative to its needs, and the surrounding area is left dry, wich can act as a deterrent to slugs and snails.
2.5 Litre
10 Litre
Cans come in varying sizes / capacities although the two most popular are the 1 litre (1¾ pints) and the 10 litre (2 gall) sizes.

The former is generally used with pot plants where only small quantities have to be treated, the latter are useful where there is a need to water a few individual plants as opposed to the whole bed.

Watering cans usually come fitted with either a coarse or fine spray rose.

A useful alternative is to modify a can to have a smaller nozzle by using a mastic applicator nozzle taped on to the spout. This gives the user more control when applying the water.

Fine Rose
Modified Spout


Before using these one must ensure that there is no hosepipe ban in your locality.

While this method of watering is more convenient, it is often more wasteful, and sometimes damaging!

What can happen is that some plants get more water than others, and non planted areas get watered as well, thus encouraging weed growth!

Add to that, the wetted area makes a good skid pan for slugs and snails to navigate to your plants.

There are a number of hose end attachments that can be fitted to hoses that allows the user to vary the intensity of the spray.

Variable Sprayer
Adjustable Nozzle
Lance Sprayer

A word of warning regarding the use of any of these attachments, and that is if the intensity is too great, you can damage plants, spoil flowers, damage the soil surface, and wash out nutrients.

Similarly the water may run off the designated area before it has a chance to percolate down to the root system.


These tend to be used on lawns where they are allowed to spray water in a side to side or circular motion.

Sprinklers have limited use on flower or vegetable beds due to the expanse of the spray.

That is; the water goes on to areas that might not necessarily require watering meaning they can use / waste huge amounts of water.

Spinning Sprinkler
Ocillating Sprinkler

Leaking / Seeping / Trickle hoses:

This type of hose has been purposely perforated to allow water to leak/seep/trickle out onto the surface of the bed or at root level when buried in the soil.

If laid on the surface the hose is laced around randomly planted plants, or placed adjacent to rows of plants where the water seeps out and percolates down to the root systems.

On occasions, for example with permanent fruit trees, and plants with deep root systems, the hoses are sunk permanently along the length of the rows of trees.

Typical Situation

In both cases it is possible to fit the hose/s to reservoirs that allow soluble liquid feed to be added into the irrigation system.

Similarly these hoses can be fitted with automated watering systems where an electronic timer is screwed to the tap to turn the system on/off automatically.

Hose End Feeder
Automated Watering System

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