Letourneau Landscaping, Inc.
Proper Watering Techniques for garden plants, shrubs and trees.
How much do I water my new plant material? One of the most common questions we are asked, especially in hot weather.
It is very important for your new plants to be watered regularly. However, the type of soil, location (sunny or shade), landscape bed type (rock, mulch or dirt), type of plant, weather conditions, and other variations.
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. One of the ways you can do this is by sticking a screwdriver into the soil. If it pushes in easily, the soil may be too wet. Look for mud on the screwdriver. If it pushes in very hard or not at all, the soil is compacted and dry.
If you find it is dry or slightly damp, the plant should be watered. Sandy soils generally will need to be watered more frequently than clay soils, but always check before watering the plant material.
Since roots grow where oxygen and water are most available, short and frequent waterings will result in a shallow root system. Watering deeply, thouroughly, 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 shrubs, trees and other plant material can be detrimental.
Be cautious of new plant material if you have a sprinkler system. You must still check your new plant material for deep watering. You will probably want to water by hand if the water is not getting deep enough.
Rock landscape beds will be dryer faster. Gardens that are close to asphalt will also dry out faster. (This includes sod - watch for yellow edges along asphalt). You may benefit by placing a small amount of mulch around the base of plants that are in rock beds or close to asphalt.
You will need to watch your new plant material for the next few years to ensure it is thriving in your environment.
Remember - Evergreens will require watering until the ground is frozen.