Water, Water, Water

It’s hot, it’s dry, and it’s summer.  It’s obvious that our landscaping needs watering, but how much and how often seems to be a mystery to some.

Newly installed trees and shrubs:  Take extra care now to make sure they are watered well and often.  Follow instructions from your landscape professional as to what types of plants you have and the watering requirements for each of them.  Newly planted trees and shrubs do not have a very large root zone and will need to be watered more than established plants.  It is also helpful to know the type and characteristics of your soil.  Sandy soils do not retain water as well as clay or loam soils and need to be watered more often.

Established plantings:  The rule of thumb is 1 inch of water per week is needed for established plantings.  The use of a rain gauge or a tin can help you determine the amount of water that is being used.  It is much better for the plants to be watered deeply once or twice a week than to water a little bit every day.  It is also important to let the soil dry slightly between waterings.  Do not let the soil become waterlogged or have standing water near the plantings.  Deep watering helps promote stronger root systems thus creating healthier plants that are more drought resistant.  When possible, make sure you are watering at the base of the plant.  This will save water that may be lost to evaporation and directs the water to the root zone where it is needed.

Lawns:  Lawns need the same amount of water as established plantings per week however timing is a bit more critical.

Lawns should be watered early in the morning, so that the leaves will dry quickly during the day.  Never water lawns at night.   Turf grass is susceptible to many types of fungi and proper watering is crucial in the prevention of diseases. 

Perennials:  Most of our popular perennials, such as daylilies, catmint, lavender and irises are drought tolerant and do not need a lot of water.  Be careful not to overwater perennial beds as too much water could cause the plants to rot.

Annuals:  If you have annual flowers in pots, you may have to water them every day, depending on the size of the pot and how much soil it holds.  Keep an eye out for wilting and check soil medium.   If the potting soil becomes too dry it can become hydrophobic, meaning it may repel water.  Take extra care to ensure soil is thoroughly soaked when watering.