It’s root-ball season!

A Guide to Good Watering Practices for, Trees, Shrubs and Lawns

Watering lawns, trees and greenery is simple right….just spray some water about? It’s not quite that simple, but don’t worry we have you covered with our handy guide on good watering practices so you can get your green area blooming!

Newly planted trees, lawns, shrubs etc need watering regularly, but just how regular? If only there was a guide for that… In order to give them the best start we have some top tips and guidance for the best watering practices


Top tips…

  • Spring and Summer are the best times of year to water
  • Newly planted trees need watering heavily 2-3 times a week
  • In very hot weather water more often
  • The larger the tree the more water it needs
  • Pots need watering everyday
  • It is best to water in the morning or evening
  • Mulch can deter weeds and conserve moisture
  • Use 5.2 gallons of water per 10 square foot

Watering Trees

– What is the correct way to water your trees? Unfortunately rain doesn’t always provide enough water but your watering will make a huge difference especially when they’re young or in dry weather.

Newly planted trees

– Recently planted and young trees require watering often, as they haven’t grown a large amount of roots yet so they can’t store a lot of water.

How Often

– Once planted you should water every day for the first couple of weeks. It is best to plant in cooler temperatures as the soil will be moister. Afterwards water once a week as the tree begins to grow. This growth period will last around 2 years.

– Unfortunately, there is no one schedule for watering trees. How often you should water depends on the size of the tree, soil condition and weather.

Checking soil

– The best way to find out if your tree needs watering is to check the soil. To do this you can poke your finger or trowel into the soil to around 2 inches, if the soil is dry then the tree needs water.

How much water?

– For a new tree we recommend a general rule of 10 gallons of water per inch of the diameter of the tree trunk once a week.

How to Water:

To water trees effectively you should water slowly for a long time to allow the roots to absorb the moisture

As they don’t have a large network of roots you should water close to the trunk so that you reach the root ball.

Newly planted trees need watering even if it rains, it is the root ball that needs watering and often rain will not fall close enough to the base of the tree.

Keep consistent, don’t allow the soil to dry out or to stay soggy as this will stress out the tree, it is essential to keep the soil consistently moist.

Types of Watering

Hose: Turn the hose to a slow dribble and place on the ground by the tree trunk, after 30mins move it to another part of soil so that it is given an even coverage do this for 1 – 2 hours depending on the size of the tree.

Soaker Hose/Drip Irrigation: Use a soaker hose that slowly drips water out of the entire length of the hose. Lay it flat around the tree and turn it on just enough so water drips out onto the soil. Run this for an hour.

Bucket: If you can’t reach a tree with a hose you can do it the old fashioned way, with a bucket. Just make sure you pour it slowly around the base of the tree, for young trees we recommend to use 10 gallons every time you water.

We don’t recommend using sprinklers for watering trees or shrubs as the water is not directed exactly to where it is needed.

It’s root-ball season!-6

Mulch is Your Secret Weapon

Mulch can help trees conserve moisture and keep them from drying out as quickly, this is very helpful in hot weather.

After 2 years the growth period ends and the trees roots will be fully established so you should not have to water expect for extreme heat and drought conditions.

Mature Trees:

As the roots of a mature tree have already spread out into a large network they don’t require as much water or attention. You will just need to water them in extreme heat or if there is a drought. In this case we recommend checking if the soil is moist before watering so as to avoid overwatering.

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Watering Shrubs:

 Newly planted shrubs:

Watering shrubs is quite similar to watering trees, here’s our guide for watering Newly planted and young shrubs (under 2 years from planting).

As a guide if there is not a heavy rain shower you should water every:

  • 2 days if soil is dry
  • 4 days if the soil holds water
  • 6 days if the soil holds water well, is in shade and is mulched well

Just like with trees you can check the soil to see if it needs watering by seeing if the soil is dry or not. You want to let the soil dry out a little before watering again so new roots can breathe.

There are many ideas of how much to water your shrubs as this can be effected by soil type, weather, and location. The Royal Horticultural society recommend 5.2 gallons per 10 square foot every seven to ten days.

Methods of Watering a Tree

Methods of watering are the same as for trees, we would recommend using a soaker hose or drip irrigation as the most effective ways to water shrubs, however, you can still water using a watering can, hose or bucket.

Established/Matured Shrubs

As the roots of a mature tree have already spread out into a large network they don’t require as much water or attention. You will just need to water them in extreme heat or if there is a drought. In this case we recommend checking if the soil is moist before watering so as to avoid overwatering.

Methods of Watering a Tree

Methods of watering are the same as for trees, we would recommend using a soaker hose or drip irrigation as the most effective ways to water shrubs, however, you can still water using a watering can, hose or bucket.

Established/Matured Shrubs

As the roots of a mature tree have already spread out into a large network they don’t require as much water or attention. You will just need to water them in extreme heat or if there is a drought. In this case we recommend checking if the soil is moist before watering so as to avoid overwatering.

It’s root-ball season!-9

Watering Turf

Watering your new turf is the most important step to take to ensure a beautiful and long lasting lawn you can be proud of.

First you must determine how deep your roots are as this is the only way to sufficiently supply the turf with water. For a new turf this is quite simple as a new turf’s roots will only be as deep as the thickness of the turf so you will just need to water it enough so that it is thoroughly wet.
However, new turf can produce new roots by 12.5mm rapidly per week. Therefore, at the end of the week you need to supply water to a depth of 12.5mm below the turf. Mature turf will have roots that are around 150-250mm deep!

To see how deep, the roots go you will need to dig a small hole to check.

How often do I need to water my turf?

New turf will require a lot of watering for the first week, we recommend watering it twice a day. After the first week you can water 2-3 times a week then after 3-6 weeks you only need to water once a week.  This is best practice for the warm months (June-September) however, you can adjust depending on rainfall.

How should I apply water? Hand watering can be quite inaccurate, therefore using a sprinkler is ideal for lawns, however, we don’t recommend using timed sprinkler systems as these may come on when it is raining and could overwater and damage your lawn.

How deep are your roots?

Method 1: It is more important how deep the water penetrates not how long you water for. To determine if your turf is moist enough you can dig a small hole to inspect the soil, the soil should not be soaking wet but be moist, dark and cool.

Method 2: Another way of finding out if the soil has enough moisture is to stick a knife into the soil. If the soil is moist you should be able to easily push the knife into the soil which will be cool and clean.

Don’t be fooled, your turf roots may still be dry even if wet leaves and heavy dew make it look otherwise!

Key things to remember:

 

  • Be prepared with a hose and sprinkler before laying your turf,

  • Watering is not as important when the temperature is below 10c but do look for signs of dry turf and water accordingly,

  • In warm weather start watering as soon as turf is laid,

  • Quantities of water will vary depending on soil types and temperature,

  • Lift corner of turf to ensure it is moist all the way through and the soil underneath is almost moist,

  • Water twice a day, early morning and late afternoon for 2 weeks,

  • Cover every turf with water as the water will not spread,

  • Keep off turf once watered or you will damage the roots and could cause uneven patches so the turf will not form correctly,

  • Don’t walk on turf for 1-2 weeks or more depending on weather or until roots have developed.