According to the Denver, Colorado Master Gardeners Extension, over- and under-watering plants is a common cause of plant death. Killed with kindness, some plants suffocate from too much water. Others, neglected and gathering dust, die of thirst. In the garden, natural rainfall may seem adequate, but without a rain gauge or soil probe, it's hard to know. Fortunately, a bounty of handy watering gadgets can improve your plants' survival chances.
Rain Gauges and Probes
Rain gauges and soil moisture probes can help you schedule watering chores for your trees, shrubs and lawn. Rain gauges will tell you how much rain has fallen during a given period, and soil probes can tell you how deeply moisture has penetrated. Combined, these tools can help keep your in-ground plants adequately watered.
Watering cans have evolved. Once nothing more elaborate than a dented, galvanized bucket with a spout, modern watering cans are now available in a wide variety of sizes, colors and materials. When shopping for a watering can, consider its weight when full. Also look for an ergonomic handle. For watering newly planted seedlings, add a spout end water diverter--often called a "rose," that will allow a gentle application of water.
Hose End Tools
Hose end sprayers are the workhorses of the plant-watering world. Available in short, single spray models or multi-choice spray patterns, these gadgets attach to the end of your garden hose, often with a quick connector that lets you remove it without turning the water off. Other helpful hose end gadgets include long-handled extensions that let you easily water hanging baskets or reach to the back of the border, and feeder attachments that simplify fertilization chores.
Attractive and handy, water bulbs are simply glass or plastic globes with a wicking stem that is inserted into the soil. Pour water into the globe and insert the stem into the soil. Water is released slowly and consistently over a multi-day period. Water globes prevent over- and under watering houseplants and can provide water to your plants when you are away.
Self Watering Pots
Self watering pots are a bit of a misnomer; you do have to water them. There's no getting around it. But once you've filled the reservoir, the plant waters itself. Self-watering containers are excellent for patio vegetable gardens. Available in a wide variety of styles and sizes, self-watering planters provide a steady, healthy amount of water. Kits are available to convert your existing collection of traditional pots into self-watering containers.