Watering Details for New Landscape Plantings
In times of moderate drought, consider what you can do in your own landscape to conserve water. Here's a link to a Fact Sheet published by the University of Massachusetts Agricultural Extension. Water Conservation Checklist
Originally posted a year ago, this information bears repeating. Watering practices are critical to the successful establishment of landscape plants and more so during drought. The following checklist will make plant-care easier. Printable format of this post.
F R E Q U E N C Y
While potted plants and window boxes in sunny locations need daily watering, most other plants do not. Heavy watering every second or third day is better than frequent light waterings. A light watering daily will evaporate quickly and will not soak into the soil to the root zone. Keep up weekly waterings throughout the first and second growing season for new plantings.
T I M E O F D A Y
Sunlight does not burn foliage of freshly watered plants. Watering should be done during daylight hours. Water left on leaves after sundown increases the potential of fungal spores developing on leaf surfaces.
C O N S E R V I N G W A T E R
Use soaker hoses, drip irrigation systems, timers or tree gator bags to reduce water use. Mulches 1-2” deep will reduce evaporation and cool soil temperature. Water absorbing polymers “grab” excess water and slowly release it back to the soil as the plant requires it. Implementing these practices will keep plants healthy and reduce your water bill.
Watering FAQ’S- Frequently Asked Questions
What if I can’t plant right away?
If you can’t plant, then you must water plant containers or burlapped balls DAILY.
How much water is adequate?
As a general rule, large trees should get 10-20 gallons of water 1-2 times a week. Smaller shrubs should receive 5-10 gallons of water 1-2 times a week. An open-ended hose running at the plant’s base for 12 minutes in a slow, steady stream is about 5 gallons. Running for 25 minutes would be about 10 gallons.
When should I use my sprinkler?
Sprinklers are for shallow-rooted plants, such as grass, ground covers, newly planted annuals, etc. but not trees and shrubs.
How will I know when to water more often?
If there is a drought, then water deeply 2 times a week. If conditions are windy, water 2 times a week.
Do I need to water even if it rains?
If you received a sprinkling of rain today, that does not count as watering. If it poured outside for five minutes, this does not count as watering. (This rain is generally too fast to soak in and usually runs off.) A FULL day of steady rain is equal to 1 watering. Rainfall alone rarely provides adequate consistent moisture for new plantings.
Is it okay to stop watering in spring or fall?
If conditions are dry, watering may have to start as early as April or continue into October.