PLANNING // CARING FOR YOUR NEW LANDSCAPE
You've just installed a new landscape. Everything looks beautiful, now what? Whether you're caring for just a few new plants or a whole new garden, the love and care your plants need is the same.
RULES FOR WATERING
For the first two weeks after planting water your plants deeply every day. If you are watering by hand we suggest counting to 20 or 30 while hovering the hose at the base of the plant - you should be watering in the morning before the heat hits, or in the evening after the heat has faded. You can also set up soaker hoses on a hose bib timer for a cheaper temporary solution, these should be set to run for a half hour each day in the early morning. If you are using irrigation, set it up to run for a half hour in each zone in the early morning.
During the entire first dry summer season water deeply and frequently. In warm weather, recently planted plants may need to be irrigated as frequently as every other day, especially if it is windy. The roots of a young plant need moisture to grow out into the surrounding native soil. Growing a large root system the first season will help the plant survive the next year as irrigation is reduced. If you are watering by hand we suggest counting to 20 or 30 while hovering the hose at the base of the plant - you should be watering in the morning before the heat hits, or in the evening after the heat has faded. If you are using irrigation, set it up to run for a half hour in each zone in the early morning.
Watch for wilting, and spot water if needed.
Remember to distribute irrigation water evenly, being sure to wet the root ball as well as the surrounding few inches of native soil all around the plant. If you water only one side, you will have growth only on one side.
During the the second summer you may reduce irrigation frequency but apply enough water to wet the top 18 inches. Apply water slowly so that it penetrates into the soil and does not run off. In heavier clay soils, water should be applied slowly, over a long period, to penetrate the entire root zone. If runoff is a problem, run short applications of water, let the water soak in and repeat.
Follow the same watering guidelines as above for the first 2 weeks.
During the first hot summer your new trees need between 10 and 15 gallons of water each week. If you don’t have irrigation you can buy watering bags, or drill holes in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket in order to make sure the tree is getting enough water. Make sure to move the bucket around each time you fill it so all sides of the tree get adequate water.
Make sure you keep the soil covered with mulch, but keep the mulch away from the trunk of the tree so that roots don’t begin to grow above ground and eventually girdle (strangle) your tree.
MANAGING YOUR ESTABLISHED LANDSCAPE (YEAR 3 AND ON)
Always keep the soil covered with a thick layer of organic mulch, like wood chips, to reduce evaporation, smother weed seedlings, keep the soil cool, and reduce erosion. You may need to add more mulch next year to keep a thick layer and hold water in your soil.
Remove weeds to reduce competition for moisture.
Check your irrigation for leaks at the beginning of the dry season, and remember to turn off your irrigation and/or pull up your soaker hoses when the rain starts in the fall.
After Year Three properly planted and watered, plants should be fairly well established, and can thrive with less watering than you may expect. Plants selected for drought tolerance may need no supplemental water, whereas shallow-rooted plants or plants with greater water needs may need water weekly. Many plants, when selected for the conditions in your yard and watered according to the above guidelines, may need watering only a couple times per month in dry weather. Remember that established plants will benefit from deeper and less frequent watering as a general rule.
Always water your plants more during heat waves! These seem to be happening more frequently. A string of 100 degree days without water can really hurt a plant. You’ll notice that they’re looking stressed. Water will almost always do the trick.