How Much Should I Water My Trees and Shrubs?
Not many people are born with a green thumb. Truth be told, green thumbs happen over time through trial and error. Unfortunately, this can come at a great expense when it comes to landscape trees and shrubs. The greatest risk to trees and shrubs in a newly installed landscape planting is adequate watering. If you have had new trees and shrubs planted recently, the best question you can ask your landscaper is: “how much should I water my trees and shrubs?”
Lawn area trees will benefit from a deep watering once a month throughout the growing season. If you have an automatic irrigation system for your lawn, at least your plants will be getting some water; however trees planted in the lawn area will rarely benefit from lawn irrigation sprinklers, because the turf grass will absorb most of the water. Tree roots can be found as deep as 3 feet below ground; however, roots will typically travel along the soil surface wherever water is found. Surface roots can make your lawn bumpy, so try deep watering to encourage deep roots. Many garden shops sell root feeders. This is a fine tool to use simply for deep watering trees in the lawn areas.
Most shrubs don’t like wet feet. All plants need oxygen at the root zone to grow properly, so overly saturated soil can be a problem for many trees shrubs. In the low lying areas where drainage problems occur, trees like willows or red maples will thrive. Some deciduous shrubs like Inkberry Holly, Highbush Blueberry or Swap Azalea will also tolerate wet soil.
But don’t assume that because a plant grows well in the shade that it likes to be wet all the time! Rhododendrons are a good example of a shade-tolerant evergreen that will not tolerate saturated soil. A well-thought-out landscape design will take into account site conditions. As a rule of thumb, soil amendments like sand should be integrated into planting designs for wet areas.
Up close and personal. If you have a new landscape planting, you should check your plants regularly. A good way to do this is to water them individually by hand once a week. Soak the base (plants drink through the roots not the leaves) until the bark mulch swells around it, then move onto the next one. Look at each plant as you are watering it. Is it getting the right amount of water? A plant that is overwatered will tend to yellow and not push out much new growth. It may even drop some leaves. On the other hand, a drought-stressed plant will show you it’s thirsty by shriveled leaves or wilted new growth.
If you have any concerns about your landscape trees or shrubs, call the plant care specialists at Trimmers today! We can suggest some corrective measures, or perhaps a better location for your struggling trees and shrubs.