At Seaside Growers
we're often asked by our customers for help in
plant care matters. We know our plants and are
happy to help with advice.
As a service we will be
developing guides for planting and maintaining
palms and tropicals and sharing them on this web
site. Please visit often as we expand this part of
our internet offering.
Tip #1: Watering
How much, How often?
It is important to remember that when placing new plants in gardens there are three watering phases to go through. The first is the planting phase, then the establishment period and finally the established maintenance watering.
First: Initial Planting watering.
Water the plant generously with a hose after planting in soil or transplanting to a new pot. When planting in the soil it is recommended to construct a basin with soil around the plant away from the trunk. This creates a watering reservoir above the roots of the new plant, thus when we apply water, the water actually goes into the new plants root ball and not all over the garden. Keep in mind that if the soil around your new plant is dry you might want to water thoroughly several times. When planting into a pot fill the pot with water making sure the water is coming out of the drain holes at the bottom.
Second: Establishment Period, watering after the install.
Water the plants at least twice per week. If it is hot or windy, water more frequently. Apply enough water to re-supply the root ball of the plant. If your soil is heavy clay that doesn’t drain well, don’t flood the plant too often.
This period after the initial installation is the time when most of our customers have problems with plants. The problem is usually not enough water and rarely too much water. If you have a sprinkler system and water on a regular basis (not every day I hope) the smaller plants up to five gallon may be okay. Larger plants will probably not get enough water from just the sprinklers and end up with dry roots. A typical sprinkler head will apply about 1 or 2 inches in an hour but nobody waters for an hour. Usually only about ¼ to ½ inches of water are applied with a typical watering cycle. When you consider that a fifteen gallon plant has a 15 inch deep root ball and you only put a half inch of water on the top, there will be a shortage of water in the lower part of the plants’ root ball. Remember that the plant is new and only has roots in the area where it came out of the pot or box. As the plant uses (drinks) the water it needs to be replenished.
The time period for establishment largely depends on the size of the plant, your soil, the kind of plant, and the growing conditions. Most plants actively grow in the spring, so new plantings in late fall or winter should be watered as though they were planted in the spring. The extra watering during the establishment period should continue through the summer months. By fall the plant should have a considerable root system established in the surrounding soil and may be okay with occasional supplemental hand watering.
Some contractors install drain pipes adjacent to the trees. The pipe should be used for monitoring the depth of water under the plant and not for watering at this time. The plant needs water from above the root ball and not at the bottom. The pipe can be used for deep watering after it is established.
Third: Established maintenance watering.
Now that your plant is established in your yard it may be okay with regular sprinkler watering. Larger plants and trees have wider and deeper root systems and will need more water. A good time to provide the extra deep water is along with fertilizer applications every few months.
Winter rains will provide deep watering to trees, provided we actually get a regular winter cycle. Adjust your watering in the winter when it is cooler and the plants use less water, however don’t stop watering just because its winter.