Don't forget to water your plants! Proper watering of a newly installed plant is critical to its establishment and future growth. Though watering may seem like a simple task, proper watering is a complex subject that does not easily offer a one-size-fits-all guideline for the quantity and frequency of watering. Be sure to search for your plant here in our knowledgebase to see our recommendations on your specific plant.
To never allow the soil around the roots of new plantings to be too dry and likewise never too wet. Roots need water to survive and to supply needed moisture back above ground for the process of photosynthesis for the purpose of the plant’s survival and growth. However, it is critical to understand that roots also need oxygen in order to survive and function.
While it is easy to understand why plants suffer when they are too dry, it must be understood that plants will suffer and perhaps die if they are too wet for a long period of time. Oxygen is not available in waterlogged soil as it occupies the same pore space as water.
Plant material must be watered thoroughly at planting time. Subsequent watering will depend upon whether the plant was balled & burlapped or containerized, weather conditions, soil type, and other factors.
Irrigation systems do not provide appropriate amounts of water at the required times for newly installed plants.
A rain gauge is a wise investment if you do not have one. 1” of rain (water) per week is recommended for established plants.
It is most important to water your plants thoroughly after planting. This is best accomplished by setting your garden hose (nozzle removed) at the base of the plant and letting it slowly trickle to completely saturate the soil. Root masses may be 12” to 24” deep or deeper; this is how deep your water must penetrate. If runoff is a problem, you may need to allow the first soaking to penetrate, then return at a later time. An alternative method for large bedded areas is to use a sprinkler—with a rain gauge or watering can—to measure the amount at 1” to 2” of water.
Here is a guide to follow during the first growing season:
Balled and Burlapped Plants
1. Water your plants thoroughly at time of planting.
2. Water every 5 days for the first month.
3. From then on water once every week.
1. Water thoroughly at time of planting.
2. During the first week check the plant daily for indications of needing water.
3. After the first week, water twice a week for three weeks.
4. From then on water once every week.
Water your plants to replace the moisture that has evaporated from the soil surface and the water that the plant has transpired (water extracted from the soil moves up the plant and is lost as vapor from the leaves). These two processes combined are called evapotranspiration and the rate at which it takes place is influenced dramatically by such factors as temperature, humidity, wind, light, day length and whether or not the soil is mulched. The faster the rate of water loss, the sooner the plants will need to be watered.
Be sure to search for your plant here in our knowledgebase to see our recommendations. Plants can be divided into three broad groups based on moisture requirements:
Watering drought tolerant plants - Check to see if the root zone is completely dry. To do this, stick two fingers several inches deep into the soil, about 6” from the base of the plant, and use the tips of your fingers to gauge moisture level. These plants are drought tolerant only after they are well rooted. When planted, drought tolerant plants should be treated as needing average water until established (usually takes one to two full seasons).
In most cases, these symptoms signal a lack of water, and the plant will recover if watered soon enough.