Our goal is to create beautiful outdoor spaces for homeowners to enjoy for years to come. At the end of each installation, we do a final walk-through with our clients to be certain everything is just right. Before we shake hands and say goodnight, we leave a packet of instructions for a successful new landscape. Included might be site specific or plant specific care instructions, like for roses or hydrangeas.
Most important of these guides is watering instructions.
Proper watering is part science, part judgement call, and confounds more than a few new gardeners. Let’s provide some simple, straightforward tips.
Newly Planted Landscapes
- New plants have different water needs than established plants and trees. Transplanting causes a certain amount of shock to a plant, due to the loss of roots, transportation and handling, and a change in growing conditions.
- Plants should be watered as soon as they are put in the ground, allowing water to soak in and thoroughly moisten the soil. In the first two weeks they should be watered every day or every other day. More when it is hot or windy. And then every 2-3 days for the 3-12 weeks after planting. Check the moisture every two days or so for the first two weeks. Then, every week or so.
- Most important: Don’t expect your sprinkler system to take care of the watering needs of newly planted trees and shrubs.
- To see if your new landscape is getting the right amount of moisture, dig 3” below the soil surface (not the mulch) to check for dryness. Water generously when the soil feels dry to the touch. Check at least twice a week. Or, use a moisture meter to check the soil.
- Both overwatering and underwatering will result in leaf yellowing, drooping, wilting, and leaf drop. Pay attention to the signs.
- Continue watering your landscape until the first frost. This helps prevent root damage.
As your landscape grows more mature and becomes established in the soil your watering practices will need to be adjusted.
- Water early – Water in the morning to give the plants the water they need for the day and so that the leaves have time to dry off before evening. Watering in the heat of the day is less effective and the water is lost to evaporation.
- Mulch to allow the most efficient use and retention of the water available.
- Monitoring water requirements frequently is more important than actually watering frequently. Plantings close to buildings where heat may reflect and plants under roof eaves require closer monitoring. During the hot summer months and early fall disregard natural rainfall. Often, rain received during these periods produces mostly run-off and contributes little, if any, to increasing ground moisture.
- Once established (1-2 years) plants should be watered every seven to 10 days (maybe five to seven days in summer), and be sure to deep-soak them, although it’s okay for them to dry out a little between.
- Sprinkler systems, properly installed, have zones so that you can program the right water levers for each part of your landscape. Your landscape beds can have long deep watering cycles and your lawn can get the right amount of water as well.
Protect your investment. Stay steadfast with your first two years watering program. Your plants will thank you by thriving and bringing their natural beauty to your door.
We are proud to have been trusted by Michigan homeowners for 40 years. To learn more about our professional landscaping services, click here. To view our portfolio of custom landscape design projects, visit this link. And please, don’t be shy to get in touch to learn more about our custom landscape design and build services. We would love to help you create your own little piece of paradise in Michigan.