When and how do I water my landscape?
To water or not to water …. that is the question! Whether your landscape is brand new or well established, watering will always play a key roll. As most people know, when your landscape is brand new, watering is key. Here are a few tips for watering your newly installed landscape.
NOTE: The information outlined below is a very simple guide for properly maintain your new landscape. Although many factors can come into play – such as location (sunny-shady), soil conditions(well drained-heavy clay), individual plant requirements, current weather conditions, etc. – by using the instructions listed and a little common sense, success is guaranteed. These instruction are also noted for the Midwest Region of the US.
Whenever watering, water thoroughly. The conventional wisdom is that most plants need 1″ of water a week. A sprinkling that doesn’t penetrate more than 1/2″ of soil will only encourage plant to keep their drinking roots near the surface and make them less able to survive droughts than if their roots had to strike deep for water. Some plants need far less, although if the soil is well-drained, they won’t mind that much water. Watering should be done so that it goes to the roots rather than onto the foliage. Try to water plant in the morning, so if the leaves do get wet they can dry off during the day. Watering in the evening and letting the plants sit wet over-night encourages fungi and molds to colonize on the foliage. It is especially important to water in the first half of the growing season, when most plants are doing most of their growing. As important as it is to water, it is equally important not to over-water. The way to check the need for water is to place your finger as deep as possible into the soil next to each plant. If it is wet don’t water.
Newly installed sod and seed must be kept damp/moist (but not soaked) on a daily basis until the first mowing for the sod and third mowing for the seed. When checking moisture levels of sod, gently lift on *several pieces* of sod in different areas and examine the soil. You should find it moist and cool. You should never over-water to the point where it will rot. When you can no longer lift the sod, it is ready for mowing and regular watering practices. Established lawns should receive 1″- 2″ of water per week. When checking moisture levels of seed, a visual inspection will suffice. Examine
The soil to insure it is moist at all time but never has standing water. Standing water will rot the seed. Once the seed is at a height of 2 ½ – 3″ and the soil is firm, mowing can be done. Continue to water daily until the third mowing, then follow the watering instructions for established lawns as stated above. Never walk on a new lawn whether it is seed or sod until it is established. You can water by positioning a sprinkler around the perimeter of the lawn area and pulling the sprinkler across to the desired location.
Existing landscapes and turf areas will not require as much watering. In a ‘normal’ season, watering typically will not need to be done. In times of drought, soaking the area around the base of the plant, working the water deep into the soil, will be the best for the plant. Getting a deep rooter feeder (available at most local stores) is a great way to get the water deep into the soil, and the best part, hardly any water is lost to run off from surface watering.
If you have more tips for watering, let us know!