Watering is an ongoing requirement for properly maintaining your investment in landscaping. In residential landscape designs, numerous varieties of plant materials are planted in close proximity to create a pleasing look. This also creates moderate root competition so additional moisture is required for development throughout the life of your new landscape.
Watering for establishment
Most trees we plant have large root balls and need a good soaking once every 4 days during summer months, and once every 7-10 days during spring and fall months. Lay the end of a garden hose near the base of the tree and let the water run at a trickle for 20-30 minutes.
Evergreens have a lower water transpiration (use) rate than deciduous varieties do. With the exception of Hemlock (which should be watered per the deciduous instructions above for the first two years in the landscape), evergreens only need additional moisture about once a week for establishment. Water can be applied in the same trickle method as mentioned above and care must be taken to ensure you do not ‘over water’ your evergreen specimens while applying additional moisture to your deciduous plants.
Smaller sized shrubs, 12-36”, need frequent watering, every 2-3 days in the summer, especially those planted in full sun. Water larger sized shrubs on a 3-4 day schedule. Wilting leaves are most likely telling you it’s dry, but check the soil before watering; sometimes wilting leaves can indicate too much water.
Again, evergreens have a slower transpiration rate, but you are still maintaining a smaller root mass for establishment. Typically a 4-5 day cycle for watering evergreen shrubs is ideal.
Perennials and Groundcovers
These plants will require the most frequent watering because of their shallow root system. Water every 1-3 days during the summer months and every 5-7 days in the spring and fall.
Sodded & Seeded Lawns
Newly laid sod/seed needs frequent watering. Under normal conditions, you will need to water every day for the first 14 days, then every other day for the next 3 weeks. After the sod/seed has become established and well rooted, a thorough soaking of the lawn twice a week should be sufficient. It is important to water your lawn based on inches vs. time. In its first 4 weeks, lawns should receive 3 inches of water per week. Place a pan on your lawn when watering to help measure the amount of water your watering method delivers.
NOTE: It is very important to carefully place your sprinkler for lawn establishment. Please be aware that sprinkler overspray into landscape beds can drown your newly installed landscape plantings in just a couple of weeks.
Seasonal flower plantings and decorative urn arrangements require additional moisture almost daily for establishment. Once annuals installed into landscape beds establish, they will require varying amounts of additional moisture depending on the variety. Urns will require moisture on a daily basis throughout their life cycle. And as they mature and near the later part of the season water demand will actually increase with a large root population in a small physical space that can only hold so much moisture.
Watering for maturing landscapes
As your new landscape matures it is important to pay attention seasonally to periods of increased moisture need. Typically the months of July and August can bring in drier periods when your intermediately aged plantings can use additional moisture every 7-14 days. Just be sure to pay attention to weather conditions and apply additional moisture utilizing the methods outlined above when we are experiencing periods of drought.