Hand Watering

Watering by hand saves the most water and allows you to enjoy the garden you have worked so hard on.

Hand watering basics

Always use a wand or hose-end device with a shut-off. This will save water as you move from plant to plant or bed to bed.

As a general rule of thumb, hoses use 9-14 gallons per minute of water. Never linger more than 7-14 seconds in one spot or you will saturate the soil.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, never water a container until the water comes out. Do it once to determine the length of time when it happens and then shorten that time by half.

Trees require watering only once a month in the absence of rain. Pick a holiday during that month to water. Water around the drip line – the edge of the tree, not at the base of the trunk.


  • Hand watering can be used at any time and any day, even during severe Drought Stages in San Antonio.
  • Less water – hoses provide only 9-14 gallons of water per minute. An in-ground irrigation system uses 12-21 gallons per minute.
  • Water flowers you’ve planted for butterflies and bees at the base of the plant, not the flower, or you’ll wash away the nectar.
  • Watering at dawn or dusk and listening to the water and birds is soothing and a good way to start or end the day.

Hand Watering Rocks!

When you hand water you use less water than running an irrigation system, are able to monitor your garden better, and to better direct where the water is needed. Sign up for WaterSaver Rewards and learn even more about your garden.