Watering Your New Trees And Shrubs:
- There are no exact rules for watering plants. Water newly planted trees at the time of planting, and then adjust all watering according to the plant's needs. Since different plants have different moisture requirements, soil and plant conditions should be used as the primary rule.
- Most trees and shrubs in Oklahoma reach maximum growth when they receive the equivalent of at least one inch of water from rainfall or irrigation per week during the growing season. Newly planted trees and shrubs will need to be watched for watering as needed on a daily basis.
- Do not water until plants show signs of light wilting. Apply water slowly to allow it to soak into the soil.
- Wet the soil to a depth of 12 inches. This encourages a uniform root system which is better able to withstand disease.
- Do not over water, since over watering can leach nutrients from the soil or deplete oxygen availability to the roots.
- Do not plant high moisture sensitive plants next to gutter downspouts or other areas where excessively wet soils may develop.
- Give special attention to plants set close to a wall where an overhanging roof may block rainfall.
- Check the soil level near the root zone and not just at the surface before deciding whether or not to irrigate. Quick summer showers may not supply enough moisture to wet the entire area around the root ball. To determine if you need to water, pull back the mulch and dig down 4"-6" beside the root ball and check the moisture level there.
- Lastly, mulch plants whenever possible to reduce supplemental irrigation. Even if a plant is supposed to be "drought tolerant", it still needs to be mulched and irrigated at least throughout the first growing season after it has been transplanted.
- You can also add a TreeGator watering bag to your tree to aid in watering during the hot and dry summer months.
Plants benefit from winter irrigation when temperatures rise above freezing. For typical Oklahoma winters, this could be a significant portion of the season. This is particularly true for broad-leaf evergreens and many deciduous species. When plants are properly mulched the need for winter irrigation is greatly reduced.
If a plant starts to die from the top-down/outside-in with dry crunchy leaves, it's not getting enough water. These plants usually look good at the bottom where the water supply only makes it up the tree so far. This is easier to fix if caught in the early stages than over watering.
Think You've Under Watered? We suggest the following guidelines:
- Add Fertilome fish emulsion around the base of the tree
- Water in with a slow drip
- Treegators are recommended
Note: The increase in water encourages new energy to push out new growth. This observation works with most all plants although some such as the Sky Pencil Hollies aren't as forgiving about running out of water and it's harder for them to bounce back.
Over watered Plants
The signs for over watering are usually leaves turning yellow with moisture still in them from the lower portion of the plant, starting from the inside out. The tops are the last thing to look bad because they are getting plenty of water to the top of the tree. Planting a tree too deep will also have the same characteristics. Over watering is a lot harder to fix than under watering!
Think You've Over watered? We suggest the following guidelines:
- Pull mulch away from base of tree/shrub to allow drying
- Next time you add water, add fish emulsion
- Water in with slow drip