Please water your new plantings a minimum of 2-3 times per week, but only when dry. Use this as a guideline, not as a rule. Don’t water if the soil is already well saturated. The rule is “water when the plant is starting to get dry”, not because it happens to be a certain day of the week. For example: When we get thirsty, we’ll have a glass of water or two until satisfied, and then we won’t drink again until we’re thirsty again. The same principle applies here. After all, you don’t give a drowning man a glass of water; neither should you give one to a drowning plant.
Smaller plants need water more often than larger plants because their roots are closer to the surface.
Do not rely on irrigation systems that water the lawn to water the plants. Overlapping zones are famous for over-watering and drowning plants. Evergreens are especially sensitive to this. If your plants are turning yellow and the ground never seems to dry out, please stop watering!
Rainfall is not a substitute for watering unless it measures a minimum of ¼”-1/2”. Less than that is not sufficient because it will not penetrate deeply enough into the soil.
Use your fingers or a trowel to check if the ground is dry approximately 2-3 inches below the surface. This is a good indicator that the plants may need a little water, especially on the shallower rooted perennials and groundcovers.
Make sure that the water penetrates well into the ground. Spraying the surface of the ground does not necessarily mean the water penetrated into the root zone. When possible, water with a soaker hose or a Ross Root Feeder. When using hose end watering devices, the nozzle attachment should break up the water stream into a soft gentle rain like pattern (or other similar device) and held at the plant base long enough to soak deeply into the soil. Try and keep the moisture off of the leaves as much as possible as this can contribute to potential disease problems.
Once the plants have been watered well, allow the ground to dry gradually until slightly dry again. Too much water that is allowed to stand around the plants for extended periods will drown the plants and they will either be stunted or die. This is especially true in heavy clay soils that do not breathe.
Don’t forget to water well into the fall season. Even if the weather has been cool, it does not mean that the soil is wet. Your watering practices, however, will need to be less frequent.
You do not need to fertilize the plants until spring. Then apply a mild all-purpose fertilizer (there are many that we offer) to the base of the plants and around the root zone and lightly rake into the soil. Rake the mulch back prior to application and then spread the mulch back around the plant. The mulch can bin the fertilizer a little and the nutrient may not get to the root zone. Soluble plant food is excellent if you use it when the plants could also use the water. Do not apply liquid fertilizers to already saturated soil. This includes Miracle Gro, Peters, or any other comparable product.
Before weeds appear in the spring, apply Preen pre-emergent herbicide at recommended rates throughout the plantings. This will kill weed seeds as they germinate, but it will not kill existing weeds. Do not apply Preen around annual and perennial plants until they have been established, about 3 weeks after planting. You do not need to apply Preen to areas that have weed barrier and stone; however, some weeds may grow along the edges and in some of the crevices. Keep a little mixed Roundup herbicide handy to periodically kill the weeds that have emerged. This will not harm the other plants as long as the Roundup does not get on their leaves. If a little Roundup gets on the leaves of “good” plants, thoroughly rinse the leaves immediately to wash it off before it dries.