Watering Recommendations for New Plantings


New Plants do not yet have sufficient root systems to sustain themselves. The idea is to water regularly so that the roots will grow deeply into the soil, eventually providing enough root structure to be self-sustaining in all but extreme drought.


Water 2 to 3 times weekly for the first year. Do not water when ground is frozen. However, if there is a sustained thaw, even in winter, water once a week. Watering should continue for at least 2 or 3 years to establish plants and during periods of drought.

Water in early morning, preferably or late afternoon. Do not water in the middle of the day — too hot — or early evening — plants need to dry off before nightfall to avoid mildew and other complications.

Every so often you must check the soil with your fingers underneath the mulch to see if you are watering too much or too little. The soil should not be soaking wet and should occasionally be rather dry for air to enter. The growth of the root system is dependent on a balance between earth, water and air pockets. Your judgement must enter in. If it rains an inch, for example, the soil will take water in to a depth, but if you just watered, that same rain would penetrate more deeply.


To water throughly, the water must be absorbed by the soil very slowly. The hose should be laid next to each plant without the nozzle and turned down to a trickle and left to run as follows:

Large trees: 5-10 minutes – up to as much as one hour if root ball is very dry (check by digging next to the root ball 4 to 6 inches deep).

Smaller trees and shrubs: 2-5 minutes – up to 30 minutes if very dry.

Perennials and vines: up to one minute.

Grass and ground covers can be watered using a sprinkler and should be watered daily for 30 minutes for the first two or three weeks and thereafter 2 to 3 times weekly.

When using a soaker hose system, it can be programmed to water 2 to 3 times weekly for about 30 minutes – depending on local conditions of soil and temperature. The soil should be checked with your fingers regularly to ensure that it is not getting too wet or too dry.

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