One of the most common questions from customers to our landscapers is: “how often do I water this new plant?” This can sometimes be a tricky question to answer since there can be a lot of factors that impact the decision of whether to water and how much to water. However, there are some best practices that should be followed to keep your landscape looking its best.
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A newly planted landscape should always be watered immediately following planting, preferably once before any mulch is spread, and then watered slightly after the mulch is spread in order to moisten the mulch. Following installation, the plants should be checked everyday to see if they need water. This check is best done by inserting your index finger about one inch into the dirt. Generally, you should water if the soil feels dry. This practice should be followed until the plant gets established.
Not all plants will take the same amount of time to establish. A tree will take much longer to establish than a small perennial, and it should therefore be carefully watered for a longer period. A good rule of thumb is to allow one month for perennials to get established, two months for shrubs, and at least three to six months for trees. During the establishment phase plants should be watered carefully and diligently.
When watering perennials, shrubs and trees, they should be watered at the base not from above. Most plants do not like overhead watering and the water on a sunny day can turn into a magnifying glass and scorch the leaves. When watering at the base of the plant any mulch should be brushed aside so that the water can sink directly into the soil instead of watering the mulch. The hose should also be turned to a trickle so that the water has an opportunity to sink into the ground. When watering with a watering can a slow pour is ideal so that the water does not run off. If watering with a sprinkler a soft rain-like pressure should be achieved.
Watering should be done in the morning as early as possible, especially when watering with a sprinkler. Early watering will give them a good boost to make it through the day. Watering at night can encourage the spread of pests and disease which will weaken the plants and inhibit them from thriving. Always try to avoid watering during the hottest periods of the day, between 11 am and 3pm, as it can put undue stress on the plants.
Finally, not all rain is created equal. A light continuous rain is preferable to a short burst of hard rain. A light rain has more opportunity to soak into the ground while a short hard rain will likely just run off. If there is a heavy quick rain it is highly recommended to check the moisture of the soil.
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Diligent watering, especially during the establishment period, and the hot summer months will extend the life of your plants. So if you are looking to have your garden redesigned contact F&M Contractors for a landscape design that accounts for all of these factors.