Bucks County had a pretty wet spring and early summer. All that water means more vegetation and more mowing. It also means that you need to keep an eye on your watering practices throughout the rest of summer. As plants’ anatomies vary, so do their ideal watering practices. While plants with shallow root systems need frequent, brief watering sessions, trees, shrubs, and turf are the opposite.
Woody Trees and Shrubs
Unlike most herbaceous plants, woody trees and shrubs have deep and expansive root systems. To be watered effectively, water must reach these roots by seeping sufficiently into the soil. This requires a long period of slowly dripping water, with the hose placed near the base of the tree or shrub. This steady trickle allows water to soak ineffectively without flooding the surrounding area. Just don’t forget you turned the water on!
Gauging how often to water your trees and shrubs depends on several factors (soil, recent weather, etc.), and there is no set answer. A good method to determine the watering frequency is the ‘screwdriver test’. Insert a screwdriver near the base of the plant. If it cannot easily be inserted into the soil, you need a watering. If it slides in easily, no watering is necessary. If it sinks in very easily and has soil clinging to it when pulled out, there is more water than the plant needs. While it is important to have enough water, too much can be deadly and can rot the roots. Proper watering practices will ensure the health of your trees and shrubs for years to come.
When it comes to a truly healthy lawn, grass consists of millions of turf plants that are well-developed both above ground and below. Short periods of frequent watering can green up your lawn quickly, but long-term lawn health depends on mature root structure. Deep, thick roots provide plenty of room for your turf to store food and nutrients. This allows your lawn to withstand harsh conditions such as summer drought and winter freezes.
The best way to foster healthy roots is to make sure that they get enough water. To ensure that water reaches the roots, you should plan on periods of slow, steady soaking. Ideally, your lawn should receive 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, with the water reaching down at least 6 inches into the soil with every watering. It takes an average sprinkler about two hours to dispense an inch of water. If you need help cultivating healthy watering practices to protect your landscape investment, call the experts at Nurney Landscape & Design, 215-794-8599.