Spring is just around the corner and this is the time of year to consider the planting and care of your flowerbeds, gardens and trees. In this article, we are specifically talking about the proper watering of your landscape.
When a perennial is first planted, the root system is close to the soil surface. The roots do not spread too far to either side of the plant, which limits its ability to absorb water deep in the soil.
Water should be supplied to young plants when the soil is dry, to a depth of 2 inches. Deep watering is best, as opposed to a brief sprinkle. If the soil is sandy and drains quickly, water more often. In heavy clay soil, water less often. Early to mid-morning is a good time to water because plants will dry before evening, preventing the spread of some plant diseases.
In general, water a tree once a day for the first 2 weeks after planting and after that, once a week for a year, as long as the tree is not dormant (without leaves). When thinking about how to water newly planted trees, you should keep in mind that the newly planted trees are not established until their roots start travelling beyond the root ball. By watering them later in the evening, or early in the morning, the water will not evaporate immediately and the roots get a good chance at absorbing some of that moisture.
Apply fertilizer once in the early spring with a basic 10-10-10 or 5-10-5 formula.
The first two weeks after installation are critical, so water the sod long enough that the water gets down to the roots and the soil underneath them. Once all the new sod is in place, and you’ve given it its initial big dose of water, continue to water it regularly and well. We suggest 20 minutes per day, every day for the 2-3 weeks. Once the sod is rooted, you can reduce to twice a week for 30 minutes, followed by weekly for 45 minutes. The best time to water your sod is between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am.
Never let the sod dry out completely. If it’s not getting enough water, the sod will turn brown. This does not mean it is past saving, but it does mean you need to irrigate more to protect your investment. Also, basic turf fertilization is suggested every 6-8 weeks.
Plants & Shrubs
Shrubs that produce large leaves and showy flowers usually need more water than shrubs with smaller leaves and flowers. The watering needs to shrubs change with the seasons, as well as with time.
Newly planted shrubs need extra water to establish strong roots and overcome transplant shock. As the shrub matures, it tolerates drought and requires less water. Young shrubs benefit from frequent shallow watering. Water older plants less frequently, but more deeply.
Plants mulched with 2-3 inches of mulch need less water than those planted in bare soil, because the mulch conserves moisture. Signs of shrub distress are wilted or yellowed leaves.