Newly installed plants need extra care and watering attention after being planted. If plants are allowed to wilt due to drying out, irreparable damage may occur to plant tissue. Plants require extra care and attention during drought periods. Even plants which may have been planted for several years may require extra watering during drought periods due to competition from surrounding trees and more mature plantings or because the root system hasn’t developed fully enough to support the plant.
Check the soil before you water because over-watering can be just as detrimental as under-watering. Dig a small hole into the soil to at least 3 or 4 inches and feel the soil. If the soil feels moist to your touch then you don’t need to water. If there is visible water or water quickly seeps into the hole, defer watering for a few days. Although we think of watering during the late spring through the summer, fall watering is crucial to winter survival of newly planted plants. Therefore, continue monitoring watering until freezing temperatures occur regularly. For large trees and shrubs turn on the hose to a slow trickle and let the water slowly soak into the soil around each plant. Alternatively, a soaker type hose can be snaked through the plant bed.
As a general rule of thumb, plants that grow in our climate like to have a minimum of 1 inch of water per week, preferably in several doses versus a big downpour.
Minimum watering requirements:
Water Right for the Weather:
- Deciduous trees, 2-3.5” caliper – 20 gallons per plant
- Evergreen trees, 6-10’ height – 15 gallons per plant
- Shrubs, 18-24” height or spread – 2.5 gallons per plant
- Ground cover, 2.25” peat pot – 50 gallons per 100 sq. ft.
- Perennials, Grasses, Vines, 1 gallon size – 2 gallons per plant
- Sodded areas must be kept moist during the first three months after completion to maintain adequate soil moisture to a depth of a minimum of 6 inches. Sod may not recover if allowed to dry out before it has fully rooted. Don’t mow sod for the first two to three weeks after installation.
- Cool, dry weather: water every 2-5 days, being sure to check soil moisture before watering.
- Cool, wet weather: water every 7-14 days. Plant roots can rot if they’re sitting in water for long periods of time, causing decline and death of the plant.
- Hot, dry weather: moisture should be checked daily. Frequent, daily watering, especially of smaller plants, may be required.
- Rainy weather: Check the soil a few days after a rain and water only if needed. Summer rain from a short cloudburst may run off quickly and not adequately soak the soil. Even a good rain in the summer might not be adequate if we’ve had a long period of drought.
- Maturity of planting: In years two and three after planting, plants should still be watered to insure an average of 1 inch of rainfall or irrigation per week. During a prolonged drought, shallow rooted plants like azaleas, as well as plants planted in a wooded environment, will require some supplemental watering even after they are well established due to tree root competition.