Watering Instructions for Plants
The first two weeks after the installation of your plants is critical to their survival. Plan to be available to "baby" your new plants during this important time of establishment. Watering every 3-4 days is necessary for trees and shrubs. Perennials and groundcovers should be watered more often because their root balls are much smaller, approximately every 2-3 days. Ideally, water is best applied early in the day but it is more important to water thoroughly and deeply than to worry about the time of day. The thing to remember about plant establishment is WATER, WATER, and WATER.
We are all leading busy lives and often do not have the time nor the memory for watering. It is essential, during the first year especially, that your plants receive the water that they need to survive. You may want to invest in a drip line system with a timer in order to ensure that your plants are watered with the right amount for their size and needs. If you have a sprinkler irrigation system, it is crucial that you inspect it carefully to make sure that it is reaching all the new plantings. Almost all systems need adjustment after plant installation. Also, make sure it is set to give adequate water for plant establishment, not maintenance. Sprinkler irrigation systems are meant for lawns not perennials. They do not give the right amount of water to plants and do not water at the root level where the plants need it the most. It is easy to convert your sprinkler system to a drip line system. Call for a consultation and quote as this is the best way to ensure the health of your new and existing plantings!
Trees and Shrubs
Trees and shrubs are expensive. It is best invest in a drip line system for the proper watering of your trees. If you do not have a drip line system, place the open end of the hose at the base of the plant and allow it to gently flow onto the root ball of the plant. The rate of flow should be such that it soaks into the soil without running off or puddling. You can water each plant individually— five to ten minutes per four feet of plant, or place a sprinkler to cover the area for several (3-5) hours (we do not recommend use of a soaker hose or an irrigation system as the only source of water during this initial establishment period as your trees will not receive the proper amount).
Groundcover and Perennials
Because these plants have much smaller root balls than trees and shrubs, they need more frequent watering. The investment of a drip line system is the best way to water your perennials. If you do not have a drip line system, sprinklers are another way to apply water. A sprinkler should be set to run for one to two hours allowing water to penetrate the top 6-12" of soil to allow it to reach the root systems.
After the first two weeks, the new plant material will need less frequent watering. At this time, you should reduce watering to 1-2 times per week. Hot, windy weather will call for more frequent watering. Each watering must be a deep, thorough soaking. For established plantings, the rule of thumb is to apply one inch of water per week during the growing season. This can be accurately measured by setting a can or rain gauge in the planting area and making sure the sprinkler or the rain fills it to the recommended amount at least once per week (please note, one inch of water wets the soil to a depth of 8-10"). Make sure to water throughout the growing season (the time between the last and first frost) until Thanksgiving for leaf and root system development.
The mulch we have applied will help in maintaining soil moisture. During cool, wet periods such as spring, less watering will be needed; during dry, windy periods common in summer or fall, more. It is important to check the soil conditions by probing the soil with a shovel or trowel if you are unsure as to its moisture condition. If it is dry, add water, if it is moist— sit back and enjoy your plantings. Remember, too much water is as great a danger as too little. A little common sense and observing eyes coupled with these instructions will give your new plants the care they need to flourish.
Proper watering during the first growing season is the single most important factor in successful transplanting, so if you're uncertain, concerned, or have any questions, please don't hesitate to call us immediately.