Caring for Your New Landscape Plantings

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Watering during the first growing season and through the establishment period that a tree/shrub is planted is crucial for its survival. Here are some tips to give your new plantings a successful beginning. 

• Water new plants thoroughly with a heavy, slow soaking, making certain that the soil around the roots is wet. Using a hose with a spray nozzle is not appropriate for watering. Take the nozzle off, turn down the pressure, and allow a slower soaking of the soil around the roots by a trickle of water, avoiding the foliage if possible.  

• Larger areas that require sprinklers must have the water distributed in a consistent pattern, for an extended period of time. 

• Natural precipitation is not an alternative for the watering of newly installed plants during the first month or two. Temperature affects newly installed plants more than rainfall. During hot periods, plants need more water. Look for wilting or drooping leaves. It may be necessary to water daily 

• The best thing to do is test the soil around the roots of the plants to see if they need to be watered. You want to avoid over-watering and saturating the soil. The soil should be moist, not dripping wet. After the first month, water less frequently unless the soil is drying out or if there is no natural precipitation. New plantings up to a year old generally need about an inch of water each week. 

• Perennials need to be watered every other day until established. Every day in hot weather. 

• Shrubs should be watered two or three times per week for the first year. Most new tree and shrub transplants that are properly planted in well-drained soil require about one inch of water per week. 

•Trees need to be watered slowly over the first and second years. Use a slow soaker hose or drip method to allow the water to percolate through the soil instead of running off the top. After planting, the roots of trees will eventually spread into surrounding soil. Until that happens, trees continue to draw water mostly from their root ball. Smaller trees and shrubs establish more quickly than larger trees.