Watering New Landscape Plants
Providing your plants with the right amount of water, sunlight and nutrients will help to encourage deep root growth and long life. While watering is not an exact science, here are some basic watering instructions for your new and existing landscaping plants.
The first two to three weeks of a new plants life are crucial for establishing roots. During this time, plants should be watered every day by hand or using a drip line irrigation system. Water should be given around the base of the plant where you want the roots to grow rather than directly next to the main trunk. After this initial period when the plants are taking root, you can adjust the watering to every couple of days and then eventually the plants can be watered once each week.
During each watering period, the goal is to give your plants a good soak. If watering by hand let the hose run on low and water around the base of your plant for about 10 minutes (longer for larger plants or trees). With a drip line irrigation system, you should water for a longer period of time (30-40 minutes) as the water comes out in a slow and steady drip. Rather than running the drip all at once, it’s usually best to break this up into 2 intervals: 15-20 minutes each interval. It’s best to water before the sun is at its peak to eliminate water waste.
Once your plants have been established, the watering frequency can generally stay at about once each week. During the summer heat, your plants may need more frequent watering. During heavy periods of rain or in the winter months, your plants need no watering at all.
The best way to give your plants what they need takes a bit of experimentation and trial and error. The very best way to identify if your plants need more/less water will be through observation and soil checking. A plant that needs more water will show signs of browning, the branches will be brittle and the surrounding soil will be dry several hours after watering (put your fingers down several inches into the soil around the plant). A plant that is getting too much water can also show signs of browning but tend to show more yellowing (or limey green) foliage. The branches will be tenderer and still have bend in them. The surrounding soil will still be moist several hours after watering.
When installing new sod, it will need to be watered once/twice per day for the first 2-3 weeks. The City of Frisco has a water efficiency plan that restricts daily watering, so it’s best to submit a watering exemption request prior to sod installation. The goal is to keep it consistently moist during the initial rooting period. Plan to run your sprinkler system in the morning before the sun emerges for about 10-15 minutes and again in the evening if you notice the sod has begun to dry out. Sprinklers provide fairly consistent coverage but it may be necessary to hand water parts of the sod if you notice small areas the sprinklers are not reaching. You will want to wait to mow and fertilize until after this initial rooting period. Once established, most warm season grasses such as Bermuda, St. Augustine and Zoysia grasses should be watered 10-15 minutes once or twice/week.