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Proper watering is critical to your plant's health. Regular watering will also help to ensure maximum flowering and proper growth. The following instructions are guidelines. No watering schedule is a substitute for daily observation of the condition of your plants.
The concept behind this watering schedule is to ensure deep root watering. Deep watering is much better for your new plants. Frequent, shallow watering from rain or sprinklers leads to shallow root systems, and plants with shallow root systems are not very drought-tolerant.
First Year Plantings
For best results, use an open-ended hose placed at the base of the plant and running at a slow trickle for the time indicated in the chart below. If you prefer to use soaker hoses, they should be wound through the planting bed and wrapped loosely around the trunks of plants. They must be left running overnight, twice per week. Gator Bags are also an option for watering. They need to be filled as often as if you were watering with a hose. Remember, the Gator Bag acts like an umbrella and will not allow natural rainwater to soak in.
Watering Times Based on Plant Sizes
- 1-3 gal pot: 10 minutes
- 5-10 gal pot: 20 minutes
- 15 gal or larger pot: 30 minutes
Balled and Burlaped plants
- 1.75" - 2.5" caliper: 45-60 minutes
- 3" or larger caliper: 60-80 minutes
If you are planting in the SPRING, water three times per week for the first three weeks, whether it rains or not. After the first three weeks, water twice per week whether it rains or not.
If you are planting in the FALL, use the following guidelines based on the type of plant:
- If the plant still has leaves, following the watering guidelines (based on plant size) until the leaves fall off.
- If the plant has lost its leaves, soak thoroughly one time after planting.
- Begin watering again in the spring when the new foliage appears, following the watering guidelines.
- Follow the watering guidelines based on plant size until December 31.
- Begin watering again in the spring when new growth appears, following the watering guidelines.
Conditions Requiring More Frequent Watering
- Windy locations: Wind dries plants out more quickly.
- Slopes: Plants planted on a slope will dry out more quickly, since the water runs downhill away from the roots. Be sure to keep the hose pressure at a very slow trickle, place it above the plant on the slope, and water more frequently.
- Overhangs: Plants placed under a roof overhang will need more water, since the soil in that area tends to be drier.
Things to Avoid
- Oscillating sprinkler: While excellent for watering lawns, which have a relatively shallow root system, a sprinkler does not provide sufficient water for deeper-rooted plants, such as trees and shrubs and can contribute to foliar fungal diseases.
- Bucket method: A bucket of water poured around a plant will be applied too quickly to soak in before most of it runs off.
Plants in the Ground Longer Than One Year
A bit of common sense comes into play in determining when and how much to water. Along with weather conditions, the old sticking your finger in the soil" test (about 3 - 4" down) is a good method. If the soil is dry to the touch, water. If it is moist, do not water.
Other things to consider are:
- The weather. Is it a normal year in terms of moisture and temperature, or has the weather been abnormal?
- The type of plant. Does it like dry conditions, normal moisture, or a lot of moisture?
- The placement of the plant. Is it in the right spot? For example, a shade loving plant in the shade or a sun loving plant in the sun.
Trees and Shrubs
All trees and shrubs need more frequent watering from planting time until becoming well rooted, which may take two or more growing seasons. Once established, plants can then be weaned to tolerate less frequent watering. Proper weaning develops deep roots and makes the plants more drought tolerant. Please follow the guidelines for first year plantings.
Water all established trees, shrubs and groundcovers infrequently, yet thoroughly. In the absence of rain, most trees and shrubs benefit from a once-a-month thorough watering during the growing season.
The feeding root system of a tree or shrub is located within the top 12 inches of the soil and at the "drip line" of the plant. The drip line is the area directly below the outermost reaches of the branches. Apply water and fertilizer just inside and a little beyond the drip line, not at the trunk. Simply lay a slowly running hose on the ground and move it around the drip line as each area becomes saturated to a depth of 8 to 10”. For large trees, this watering technique may take several hours.
Because we sell the plant material that we purchase from local nurseries directly to the customer using our "Trade-Only Wholesale Discount," we do not offer a one-year plant guarantee. This is always stated on the itemized estimate that is provided to the customer. If a one-year warranty is desired, then the customer must pay us the full retail price for the plant material. Nurseries do not guarantee the plants to us when we purchase them using the wholesale discount and that is why we do not warrant the plant material to our customers.
The main reason plants die is due to lack of water. Lack of water will also cause a plant to become stressed and more susceptible to disease and bugs; therefore, lack of water is the root cause of plants dying. Plants do not die overnight; it is a process that may take several days or weeks depending on the weather. Here are some signs that your plants are struggling:
1. Leaves are wilted.
2. Leaves are turning color (yellow or brown).
3. Leaves begin to dry up and become crispy.
4. Leaves begin to fall from the plant.
As soon as you see any of these signs, begin watering your plants immediately on a daily basis to try to reverse the damage. Fortunately, perennials are very hardy and can usually be revived, and these plants usually shows signs of stress pretty easily. Unfortunately, if trees and shrubs reach the point of dry/crispy leaves, the damage usually cannot be reversed. As soon as you see any type of wilting on trees and shrubs, start watering immediately, and make sure they are getting a deep-root watering not a shallow, surface watering. Depending on the type of shrub, sometimes pruning can help a struggling plant survive.
Other signs of stress from disease or bugs could include:
1. Black spots or powdery mildew appearing on leaves.
2. Holes appear in the leaves or leaves are partially eaten.
3. Caterpillars or aphids are present on the plant.
In most cases, you can purchase an insecticide or fungicide product at your local garden center (even Lowe's or Walmart) and follow the directions on the label and treat your plants accordingly. When dealing with perennials, I usually choose to cut back the plants and remove the damaged foliage completely.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.