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Problem Solver: How Often Should I Water?

  1. In the ground, water deeply once a week.
  2. In outdoor containers, water deeply once or twice a week.
  3. Indoors, water with 1/4 - 1/2 gallon every 5-7 days or less.

Please bear in mind that each environment (microclimate) is unique, so it is important to monitor your plants to learn what they desire. Eventually you will find a consistent schedule which changes with the seasons. You will learn what works, between you and your plants. Each watering practice may also vary slightly as sun, wind and temperature conditions change. Watering a containerized tree can be challenging, but correct soil mix conditions will make caring for your tree easier.
Citrus trees like deep, infrequent watering so that the conditions move towards dryness and remain on the dry side of moist! Watering frequency will vary with soil porosity, tree size, and temperature. Allowing the top of the soil to become dry will not hurt the tree. A moisture tester can be used to read moisture at the root level. This inexpensive tool can help you resist the urge to over water. A wilted tree that perks up within 24 hours after watering indicates the roots got too dry. Adjust watering schedule accordingly. A tree with yellow or cupped leaves, or leaves that don't look perky AFTER watering can indicate excessive watering and soggy roots. In this case one should water less frequently.
For heavy/clay soil: Air spaces are tiny in clay soil, making it impossible for water to drain away rapidly. You should adjust your watering schedule to be somewhat less frequent. Allow time for the soil to drain and the surface to dry out, but don't go so far as to let new growth wilt. You can also amend your soil before planting with compost, potting mix or wood shavings. Feeder roots gather nutrients in the top foot of soil and can spread beyond the tree’s dripline. Mulching will help retain moisture and nutrients in the soil where roots are active.
Leaf drop: If you observe excessive leaf drop a few days after a heavy watering, this is a sign that the tree became too dry before it was watered. In the future, be consistent in your watering schedule. Trees that are watered excessively will often show yellowing leaves before they drop.