Proper watering is the most important requirement in any landscape maintenance. Plants require about 1-inch of water per week or soil moisture to a depth of 8 to 12-inches. Supplying a lot of water on top of the ground doesn't help unless it soaks down to the plant roots. An easy method of testing the soil for adequate moisture is to stick your finger through the mulch down into the soil about 3-inches. If the soil feels moist...do not water. If the soil feels dry, apply water at a rate slow enough to allow it to penetrate down to the plant's root system.
Generally, plants don't need to be watered every day. Remember, Central Ohio clay soils tend to hold water, so be careful not to over water your plants.
- Soaker Hose - Place a slow trickle of water, or a soaker hose, at the base of each plant for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Root Feeder - For larger trees, inject a root feeder at the edge of the root ball of each plant for 4 to 5 minutes. Fertilizer also can be applied through a root feeder. Be sure and follow manufacturer's instructions for the correct dosage. Root feeders and fertilizer tablets can be purchased at your local garden center or hardware store.
- Garden Hose - Place a garden hose without a sprayer attachment at the base of each plant and apply water at a medium rate. If water runs away from the base of the plant, reduce the water pressure to allow adequate penetration of water into the soil and root system.
Seasonal Watering Needs:
- Spring - Normal precipitation will take care of most water needs unless the previous winter was relatively dry. You should check your soil moisture several times a month through May. Pay particular attention to newly installed plant materials.
- Summer - The most important time to check and maintain soil moisture is in the Summer. Soil moisture should be checked weekly, and plants generally should be watered every two weeks. You may need to water weekly in very hot, dry weather or if plants are newly installed. Beware, light summer showers don't provide enough moisture for newly installed plants. Also, it's important not to spray water over the top of shrubs and trees in the heat of the day. This may scorch the leaves.
- Fall - Plants should not go into winter with dry soil and roots because winter sun and winds are just as hard on plants as summer droughts. If the late summer and early fall have been dry, check the soil for adequate moisture content.
Plants located under building overhangs get very little moisture from rain. Therefore, hand watering, or watering through an irrigation system, may be required.
Note: Some plants require more specialized care. If you are in doubt, we suggest you consult your local garden center for detailed reference materials or hire a professional maintenance service to maintain your landscape.