Did you know? The leading cause to plant death in new landscapes isn’t pests or disease. It’s overwatering or underwatering plants, which, by the way, have very similar symptoms including: leaves wilting or dropping, changing colors, or needles turning brown. So, let’s talk proper watering so you can offer your plants the best chance at survival. Here is a quick watering guide for new plants:
All new plants require routine watering for at least the first year while the roots get established. All the tips we outline below will vary a little bit based on the size of the plant purchased, soil drainage, temperatures, and rainfall. If it rains more than 1” that week, you can skip your scheduled watering.
Of course, the easiest way to water would be to have an irrigation system installed. Our sister company, Superior Irrigation, can program your controller to water your new plants properly with no hassle on your part.
If watering by hand, planting in spring and fall is preferred. The cooler temperatures and additional rainfall will reduce transplant shock, and the amount of time you have to water (unless of course, you decided to plant something in spring of 2023!). Also, when planting be sure to pick a location that has easy access to water. Large trees need at least one 5-gallon bucket of water per 1” caliper a week. Each new container shrub will need at least one gallon of water each week.
There are a few methods you can consider utilizing once a week if not enough rain was received:
- An easy way to make sure your trees get a slow deep saturation is to buy gator bags, which we have here at Superior Garden Center. Gator bags can be filled in about 3 minutes and can slowly release water over 3 hours. Unfortunately, these generally aren’t a viable option for shrubs as they are too small.
- Set a hose around the roots of the plant on a low drip and set a timer. Leave the hose running for 30 minutes per tree, 15 minutes per shrub, and move to other plants as necessary.
- We’ve also had customers in the past literally poke holes in their 5-gallon buckets, fill them up, and let them slowly release the water around the plant.
New Sod is especially picky when it comes to water, and the first two weeks after installation is crucial! We would strongly suggest getting irrigation installed along with new sod. With irrigation, it can be put down any time of the year. Also, it will need to be watered thoroughly within the first couple hours of being laid. Then, it will need water a couple times a day for the first two weeks. If you don’t have irrigation, you’ll really have to babysit it consistently with a sprinkler.
If you enjoy planting flowers in pots on your porch or deck, keep in mind that the larger the container, the less frequently you’ll have to water. There is more soil in a larger container which the roots can pull moisture from. In the hot months they’ll need to be watered every other day. Some smaller containers will need to be watered daily. How do you know how long to stand there with a hose?
Moral of the story here? The key to watering properly is to do so consistently and deeply, without going overboard.