The maintenance and care of all your plants is of vital importance, especially in their first year, when your trees and shrubs are establishing themselves in your ground conditions, so we have collated some tips on watering plants.
Here at Arundel Arboretum, we ensure that all of our customers are given the best possible advice on how to look after their plants. Watering plants appears to be one aspect where customers are often concerned about getting it right.
We always advise the following:-
* Water your trees and shrubs well when they are first planted. Newly planted trees and shrubs need to be kept moist but not wet in order to help them grow and be resistant to pests and diseases. It will also enhance their ability to produce flowers and fruit.
* Once planted, you should check the ground every day. If the ground is wet, you do not need to water, so walk away! If the ground is dry or starting to dry out, you need to water. You should be checking your ground very regularly at first so that you work with your ground conditions. To ensure that you know exactly how wet or dry your ground is, it is a good idea to place your finger into the ground to ascertain how far down the water has gone. Newly planted trees and shrubs will require regular watering for the first few years of their life in order to establish a healthy root system.
* Depending upon your ground conditions, you could be watering every day, every other day or every 3-4 days.
* Water slightly away from the root ball to the canopy edge of your plants. This encourages the fibrous roots to chase the water and will help to establish a stronger root system and therefore a stronger, healthier plant. A weak root system will create a weak tree or shrub, which will be susceptible to disease and will not be able to cope with high winds, as the root system will not be strong enough to keep the plant anchored in the ground. You want to keep the roots moist but not saturated. There is no need to water the foliage of your trees and shrubs.
* If your trees and shrubs are in containers, you will probably need to water every day, even twice a day in severe dry weather, as there is less soil to hold water. Again, you need to work with your conditions.
* You should continue watering plants through until the autumn, but as the weather cools, you will need to water less. Your plants will need to start to “harden off” for the winter and by reducing the watering; there is less chance of frost damage to the roots. Again, work with your ground conditions.
Newly planted plants –
Newly planted plants are more susceptible to water stress than established plants and watering should always be high priority. More established plants will not need as much water or maintenance.
It can be beneficial to spread a layer of mulch to your beds to help keep the moisture levels in the ground. However, it is imperative that the mulch does not cover the top surface of the root system (which should always be slightly proud of the surface) and it must not touch the trunk or stems of your trees and shrubs. This will suffocate them and leave them open to diseases or even kill them. A layer of no more than 3”-4” will suffice.
During this hot spell, it is most important to keep on top of your watering. Failure to do so, will be to the detriment of your plants and could eventually kill them. We are watering our stock twice a day now to keep all of our stock healthy and looking its best.
If you are concerned about how often to water and would like further advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.