Watering your plants may seem unnecessary in a city known for its rain. While a good rain (one inch or more) is equivalent to one watering, correct watering is the single most important factor in establishing new plantings, so it’s important to do it right.
What many people don’t realize is that excessive watering is as bad for plants as no water. Allowing soil to dry out before watering forces roots to grow deeper as they search for moisture. This creates a more resilient plant.
Keep in mind that several factors affect the frequency of watering, including how recently the plants have been installed, the season, sun exposure, temperature and drying winds.
One way to check this is to stick your finger two to three inches into the soil around your plant. If it’s not moist, water away!
When you do water, slow and deep watering is better than a quick spray. Smaller shrubs benefit from 10-20 minutes of a slow trickle from a garden hose, while trees and larger shrubs need a longer trickle of around 20-40 minutes. We recommend using a gator bag or other slow-watering product to make your life easier and ensure excellent watering.
For the small stuff such as perennials, annuals and groundcover, running a soaker hose for 5 minutes or hand watering the area should be enough. For new lawns, watering depends on the type of installation. Grass seed and sod are both grass but differ with price and level of involvement. Sod is transplanted mature grass which is rolled up like a thick carpet. In general, seed requires care from planting to sprouting but costs much less. Grass seed should not be allowed to completely dry out from the day it’s installed until well rooted. New sod should be watered twice per day in the summer and once per day in spring and fall until fully established. This will take around 2-6 weeks. For more info on the topic, check out our lawn watering post.
The best time to water is in the morning before temperatures rise. This allows time for water to soak in before the heat of the day when plants need it most. Late afternoon is also a good option. However, it’s important to leave enough time for the leaves to dry off (leaf enough time, if you will) before dark, to prevent fungal diseases.
If this sounds like a lot of work, we also offer irrigation systems that make watering a breeze. We’ll even program and customize the system for you so you don’t have to think about it! For more information about irrigation, check out our irrigation systems maintenance guide. [link]
However, even with irrigation, newly installed plants may need additional watering. Irrigation systems are built for the area that large plant’s roots will spread to eventually, but it may take up to three years for them to completely fill in. Water them like you would any other plant in the meantime by checking the soil’s moistness next to where the root ball is.
If you have any questions about how to water your new Pacifica installation, feel free to give us a call at 206-551-9872 and tap into our wealth of expertise. Or, try Seattle’s Rain Wise Website http://www.seattle.gov/utilities/environment-and-conservation/projects/green-stormwater-infrastructure/rain-wise