General Watering Instructions
Plantings: New plants do not yet have sufficient root systems to sustain
themselves. The idea is to water regularly so that the roots will grow deeply
into the soil, eventually providing enough root structure to be self-sustaining
in all but extreme drought.
Established Plantings: Most
older plantings (3 years or more) will tolerate dry periods; however,
prolonged drought will necessitate the need to water regardless of the age of the
Water when nature
does not provide adequate rainfall or simply when the ground around a plant is
dry. (This is most critical with new plants.) Established plants may need
watering during periods of heat and extended dryness. To determine watering
needs, test the soil 3-4” down beside the plant to see if it is dry or moist to
the touch. If you have been watering properly or it’s been raining adequately the
soil should be moist at that depth. The soil should not be soaking wet and
should occasionally be somewhat dry for air to enter. Most plants actually
prefer to become moderately dry before they are watered again. The growth of
the root system is dependent on a balance between earth, water and air in the
soil. Your judgment must enter into the “to water or not” process.
Example: If it rains an inch, the soil will
absorb water to a certain depth, but if you just watered, that same rain would
penetrate more deeply.
Watering in early morning is preferable
over any other time of day because any water that inadvertently splashes on the
foliage will have time to dry off before the heat of the day (avoiding scald).
Evening watering tends to encourage problems such as mildew and other fungal
diseases; however, do not hesitate to water when you see an immediate need.
Do not water when ground is frozen.
How to Water Plants
water thoroughly, the water must be absorbed by the soil very slowly. A garden
hose (without a nozzle) should be laid next to each plant and turned down to a
trickle and left to run as follows:
1. Perennials, groundcovers, and small plantings: water 3-4 times
per week for the first three weeks, and two times per week thereafter until the
ground freezes. Apply water at the base of the plant for 10-20 seconds.
2. Shrubs & Small Evergreens: water twice per week for first
three weeks, thereafter once per week. Apply water at the base of the plant for
3. Shade, Ornamental Trees, & large evergreens: water no more
than once per week. Apply water over the root zone slowly for 10 minutes.
Watering every other week in this manner may prove to be adequate.
1. IMPORTANT: Water the soil not
the foliage. Wet leaves are highly susceptible to bacterial and fungal disease.
Constant water spray onto foliage will degrade the plant foliar structure.
2. Mulch will reduce your watering needs. A 2-3” base of mulch around your
plants can reduce watering needs as much as 50% by limiting evaporation of
moisture from the soil by sun and wind.
Plants in full sun will require more frequent watering. Plants in shade will
dry out less quickly and will require water less frequently
4. Hot and
windy weather conditions will require more frequent watering.
5. Soaker hose systems can be effective
and can be used in conjuncture with a programmable timer to turn it on and off.
The soil should be checked with your fingers regularly to ensure that it is not
getting too wet or is too dry.
it possible to overwater?
Overwatering is defined as watering too frequently. Roots need time to dry out
and breathe. They need oxygen to survive. Watering too frequently drowns roots
and can create root rot and plant disease. Watering plants other than annuals
or very small perennials every day will result in over watering. Ironically,
the symptoms of overwatering can look very similar to under watering.
Most plants will not only tolerate a little dryness but actually prefer
to become moderately dry before being watered again. Do not water every day.
This will drown the roots, suffocate and consequently kill the plant
for Watering New Lawns
1. Watering should start immediately after seeding is completed adding
approximately 1” of water over the entire area (with either an oscillating or
rotating sprinkler). To measure water amounts, place a tin pie plate in water
area for monitoring purposes. Please
make certain not to over water and create puddles or “wash-outs”.
Water using Step #1 as often as twice a day until the grass is of mowing height
and you may begin mowing at this time.
watering to 3 times per week allowing the water to seep 3 to 4 inches
deep. This should become common practice
during the hot and dry summer months.
4. After the second mowing it is a good practice to apply fertilizer. The
germination process requires a good deal of nutrients tending to leave the soil