July 18, 2017
While most of us are aware that plants need some combination of water, soil and sun, monitoring your plants’ watering needs can be tricky. Normally, around July, and increasingly in August and September, the steady precipitation in our area begins to dwindle. That is why we thought now would be a great time to review the proper way to water your landscape plants.
- Check all plants weekly. Check newly planted trees and shrubs every few days for the first two weeks. Annuals and Perennials daily, thereafter, every week to 10 days. Simply dig around the root zone with your fingers to a depth of 2″ to 3” for small plants and 6″ to 8” for larger ones and trees. Water generously when the soil feels dry to the touch.
- Slow, deep watering is preferred. This type of watering is accomplished by placing the hose at the base of a plant, at a heavy trickle, and water 5-10 minutes for small plants, longer for larger plants, while moving the hose in a few locations around the plant.
- When the soil feels moist, do not water. Soil must be allowed to dry out between waterings. If a plant is maintained in constantly moist soil, the plant’s health will deteriorate over time. A plant weakened by over watering may die of oxygen deprivation or become susceptible to pest and disease. For this reason, lawn irrigation systems, if not designed correctly, can be hazardous to ornamental plantings.
- Monitoring water requirements frequently is more important than watering frequently. Monitor your plants’ water requirements for at least the first two to three years. Plants close to buildings where heat may reflect and plants under roof eaves require closer monitoring. During the hot summer months and early fall, disregard natural rainfall. Often, rain received during these periods produces mostly runoff and contributes little, if any, to increasing ground moisture.
- Maintain a 2 – 2 ½” mulch layer to help conserve ground moisture, prevent weeds and retain moisture. Remember, excess amounts of mulch will result in poor air circulation and reduce plant vigor.