NEW INSTALLATION WATERING
New installations should always be watered immediately after planting. It is important to keep new plantings and young plants well-watered as their root system has not fully developed. Make sure to check the soil right around the base of the plants as this soil may dry out faster than soil in between plants. Too much water can encourage disease and cause plant death, so it’s important to pay attention to the climate and the location of the plants to determine when and how much to water. Always check soil moisture before watering by sticking your finger in the soil up to the second knuckle.
You can use our watering guidelines to help determine when and how much to water:
Spring Perennial Plantings:
Week 1: Every day to every other day.
Weeks 2-3: Water 2-3 times per week, depending on environmental conditions.
Weeks 4+: Water 2-3 times per week, more in hot/dry conditions. When cooler, water less.
Summer Perennial Plantings:
Week 1: Every day.
Weeks 2-6: Water 2-3 times per week, depending on environmental conditions.
Weeks 6+: Water as needed, more in summer months and less in fall.
Fall Perennial Plantings:
Week 1: Every day to every other day.
Weeks 2-4: Water 1-3 times a week, depending on environmental conditions.
Weeks 4+: Water less as winter approaches. Water evergreens until ground freezes.
Spring and Fall Annual Plantings:
Week 1: Water 1-2 times per week.
Weeks 2+: As needed. Depending on weather this may be every other day or once a week.
In-ground Summer Annual Plantings:
Weeks 1-2: Every other day.
Weeks 3+: Water 1-2 times per week, depending on environmental conditions.
TIPS FROM THE PROS
TIP 1: Mulch helps hold water in the soil and around the plant. Make sure not to mound up mulch around the base of plant stems/trunks as this causes them to rot.
TIP 2: Water the soil surface directly around the plant base to ensure all of its roots receive water. Water over each area several times to make sure the soil and roots are thoroughly soaked. If possible, do not water the tops of the plants (the leaves, flowers and buds). This encourages diseases such as powdery mildew and can also ruin flower buds. Also, flowers won’t last as long if you get them wet, so try to keep them dry!
TIP 3: The amount of water to give plants depends on many factors. Environmental factors that require more watering include: sun, wind, high temperature, season, lack of rain or plants are under an overhang. Remember that having one of these factors present is enough for a plant to dry out—so it could be cold, but if it’s windy, you still need to check for water. The type of plant is another factor that helps determine how much water to give a particular plant:
Perennial Beds: Established perennial beds (beds that have existed for more than 2 years) should get an average of 1” of water a week. If there is no rain, this means running a sprinkler for at least one hour on the entire bed. Or you can hand-water thoroughly to soak the soil. To test if the soil is soaked, stick your finger down to the second knuckle. When using a sprinkler, remember that they do not always hit all plants in the garden. Other plants, tree trunks, other objects and the angle of the water spray can cause “shadows” to be cast over areas and these areas do not receive water. Be sure to look for these areas and find a way for them to get sufficient water.
Annuals in beds: More water is usually required for these plantings. If there is no irrigation, make sure to keep a close eye on annual plantings. If you see the plants wilting, it is definitely time to check the water!
Annuals in containers: Containers need to be watered every day or every other day, depending on the environmental factors listed above. Containers that are especially root bound (lots of roots) or have been established for several months will need more water. When watering the container, go around the entire container with the watering can or wand—including the edges-- to make sure all of the soil is soaked.
Trees and Shrubs: When watering trees and large shrubs, it is important to really soak the plant’s root system. For this reason, we recommend setting up a hose to slowly drip at the base of the plant for an hour or two. This means turning on the wand or hose at about quarter power. If possible, move the hose to a few different spots to get an even soaking. This ensures that the water will go deeply enough into the soil and the roots will be encouraged to grow deeper and wider.
Watering for Winter: It’s a good idea to water all evergreen trees and shrubs that have been planted within the last 2- 3 years before winter begins (November is a good time). Evergreens continue to transpire water through their leaves in the winter, so watering before everything freezes is always a good idea.