How Do I Water My New Plants?: One Simple Rule to Successful Watering of Recently Transplanted Trees, Shrubs and Perennials.

Filed under Plants, Misc by Lauren Cook on .

The act of watering sounds like it should be pretty simple and self-explanatory. However, many plantings fail due to under-watering and, just as equally, over-watering. The leaves of under-watered plants will appear brown and crispy. While the leaves of over-watered plants look light green, soft and droopy. The only problem is that by the time some plants are displaying these symptoms, it may be too late. The poor plant has already been stressed beyond repair.


That's why there is only rule you really need to know about watering...


When determining when and how to water your new plantings, you have to check out the soil.


Not the plant, nor it's leaves. Not by relying on a scheduled timer. You have to walk out to your flower bed or tree planting, pull back the mulch and stick your index finger a couple inches down in the soil. Is the soil still moist? Then wait another day and check again. Is the soil dry? Well, then it is time to water. For the first two weeks after your plants were installed, make sure the soil stays moist either by hand-watering or with a drip-irrigation system. Less frequent, but deeper waterings are always better than more frequent, shorter waterings. You will develop better root systems this way and in the future the plant will be less susceptible to drought conditions. When watering trees or large shrubs, I prefer to set the end of a hose at the base of the plant on a slow trickle for ten to fifteen minutes.

After the first two weeks you can begin letting the soil around your plants dry out in between waterings and begin watering less frequently. Once these plants are established, they should require little to no hand-watering unless experiencing periods of drought. On average, most established plants would like to receive about an inch of rain a week. Warm, dry, sunny and/or windy weather conditions can cause the soil to dry out faster.

Proper plant selection will also help in the prevention of over or under-watering. A landscape designer or horticulturist can help you choose plants for your yard that will thrive under your existing conditions.