It's not something most people would consider doing. Especially here in New Jersey where our growing season is already a bit on the short side.

At least, it is when compared to many other parts of the country. Once we pass that critical mid-May point where the weather is finally warm enough both day and night, people all over the Garden State want to get to their plants going right away.

Part of that care includes watering. Depending on how green, colorful, or lush you want your plants, you might decide to water them every day to help it along.

And there's nothing wrong with that. After all, good water, good soil, and good sun are a great combination for success.

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Cutting back

Of course, once everything is established it's usually a good idea to cut back watering to at least every other day. Simply put, you don't want to overwater your plants and cause root rot.

Whether it's flowers, vegetable gardens, or other kinds of vegetation, overwatering can fall under the category of too much of a good thing. Especially if rain is in the forecast, it might be wiser to skip the watering at least for that day.

But that's all part of regular care. What if you were told to cut back watering for several days in a row?

Let's say, maybe three days total? Not the potted plants, but the ones in the ground. And let's assume there's no rain in the forecast. Why would you want to do that?

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(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Stressing the plant

Believe it or not, it's actually a good idea for your plant to be tricked into thinking it may be dealing with drought conditions. Especially younger plants that maybe aren't at full size yet.

This includes vegetable gardens too. I myself will purposely stress the plants in my garden early on before we get deep into the growing season.

Yes, sometimes the leaves may wilt just a bit, but I never let it get to the point of no return. Here's why I do that, and why you should as well for your flowers, plants, and garden.


Preparing for drought

As crazy as it might seem, New Jersey has entered a dry spell as of mid-June 2024. That, despite the crazy rains we've had earlier in the year.

Now does that mean we're going to see drought in the near future? No. But it does mean we should be prepared, and stressing your plants is a great way to get them ready just in case.

When you stress your plants on purpose, you're forcing their roots to dig deeper in search of water. That in turn will allow them to find water more quickly when drought-like conditions do hit. or if we get hit with water restrictions.


watering a sun flower plant with a water can

Too much, too little

Not watering too frequently on purpose is something most might not equate as a helpful tip, which is understandable. That's why when you hold back on watering for a couple of days, only do it sparingly as too little water for too long also isn't good.

The whole point of stressing the plant on purpose is simply to help those roots search deeper for water. Trust me, it really helps when the weather gods decide not to cooperate when it comes to giving us healthy amounts of rain in The Garden State.

As for watering every day? Well, that can be bad too since the roots won't ever have to search deep for water. Again, finding the right balance for the type of plant(s) you have is key.


Heat & drought

Stressing your plants might not fully safeguard them from spells of hot and dry conditions, but it certainly will help them get through it. They will stress should New Jersey be struck by drought, that's a given.

But if you can help its roots dig deeper now by purposefully simulating drier conditions here and there, that'll better prepare your plants for the worse by enabling them to draw water from deeper down in the ground.

Remember, it's a balance based on the type of plant. Just as overwatering can be harmful, so can over-stressing. You want to do it just enough to help get those roots ready should a drought strike us in The Garden State this summer.

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The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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