How to water your plants and lawn

Watering Lawn

Any watering plan should compensate for recent rainfall patterns. Trees can die from too much water as well as too little. Newly planted trees may need water as much as once a week for the entire growing season. The next two years may require watering only a few times per year, usually in July and August. After that trees should need water only during severe droughts. Bare root transplants and balled and burlapped material, planted in the dormant season, if they are sufficiently watered during planting may not need water for two to four weeks.

Soil texture influences the downward flow of water. Soils with more clay tend to hold on to the water more and can be watered less often. Often well drained soils will lay on top of a hardpan which can trap too much water around a plant. Remember more plants die of too much water than too little. A simple way to test your soil is to pull back the mulch and pick up a ball of soil and squeeze, if the soil sticks together it is wet enough, if it crumbles it is time to water.

The best way to water is deeply and slowly using a regular hose, a soaker hose, or drip irrigation. On larger trees start by watering the root ball thoroughly and then expand the watered area to include the whole root zone after the trees becomes more established.

As a rule of thumb, new trees should get 15 to 20 gallons of water three times a week. Planting beds should get one half an inch of water three times per week. These amounts are for the summer months during periods of little or no rain.

During hot, sunny times of the year water regularly. Signs that it's time to water include slowing of growth, chnages in color, loss of resilience or wilting. Check soil two to six inches down. If it is dry and crumbly, it needs water. Timing or watering is important too. Early morning is best because evaporation will be low. Late afternoon is second best, but make sure plants have enough time to dry before darkness. Proper watering is deep watering. A good drenching every few days is better than frequent light waterings. Water to a depth of six to eight inches. Proper watering will save you money and produces the best results.

New sod should be watered enough to keep the turf wet and not saturated three times daily for 10 days. Once rooting has started watering may be cut back to every other day, then twice per week for the remainder of the growing season. On sandy soils or hardpan this may need to be increased.



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