Care Guide – Water Plants

The watering of your plants is critical for their overall health and survival. So we ask that you take the time to tend this need. It is very important for your new plantings to be watered regularly. However, the type of soil and the weather conditions should determine how frequently and how much you water.

Never water automatically without first checking the soil to determine if watering is needed. To do this, test the moisture of your soil about 4-8 inches deep. If you find it is dry or only slightly damp, the plant should be watered. Sandy soils generally will need to be watered more frequently than clay soils but always check before automatically watering the plant.

Since roots grow where oxygen and water are most available, short and frequent watering will result in the development of a shallow root system. Watering deeply, thoroughly and only as needed will encourage a deep and healthy root system that will be able to withstand environmental stresses. Heavy watering of lawns next to newly planted trees and shrubs can be detrimental to those trees and shrubs.

Do not water heavily or fertilize with nitrogen in early fall or the plant’s dormancy will be delayed. Instead, decrease watering in early fall to help signal plants to begin their winter acclimation. Then increase it in late fall to provide plants with the water they need to withstand winter winds. Always water plants thoroughly just prior to the soil freezing in late fall.

Browning or winter burn of evergreens is another common winter problem. Water evergreens very thoroughly throughout the growing season, lightly in early fall and then thoroughly before the soil freezes. Anti-desiccant sprays may help somewhat in preventing water loss from evergreens, but it is more effective to use burlap or a similar material to screen the plant from the wind and sun.

The following is a basic schedule based on a sandy soil type. With a clay soil you will need to water about ½ as much.

  • The first two weeks and any hot, dry spells are the most crucial times to water on a daily basis. If you are unable to water your plants, we ask that you let us know so that we can schedule the project when you will be available.
  • Beyond the first two weeks and during the cooler days of summer, watering every other day should be enough.
  • During the early spring and the late fall, every three to five days will usually be enough.
  • Even though many plants go dormant late in the fall, it is very important that you continue watering until the ground freezes. This is especially important with all evergreens.
  • When watering shrubs and perennials, you will want the hose on half pressure and water each plant for 30 seconds.
  • When watering trees, you will want to set water pressure to a trickle and set it at the base of the tree for 20 minutes.

The above instructions are approximate. You may find that specific weather and soil conditions may create the need to water more or less. If you have more questions than are answered here, don’t hesitate to call your Gary Anderson Landscaping, Inc. representative.