Suggested Watering Schedules
Recommendations for Watering
These are just guidelines for watering and certain factors should be kept in mind like rain, cloud cover and temperature. Please adjust watering accordingly.
- Below 70 degrees: Water as Needed.
Check top of trees’ root ball for moisture
- 70-80 degrees: Once a Week
- 80-90 degrees: Twice a Week
- 90-100 degrees: Three Times a Week
- 100+ degrees: As Needed
NOTE: Avoid these common mistakes when watering new trees. Under watering in the hot summer months, over watering in the cooler months.
For the Care of New Trees and Shrubs
Newly planted trees should be watered at least 3 times a week using a slow soak, deep watering method (e.g. by hand with a water hose, soaker hose, Gator Bag or drip/bubbler system). Your sprinkler system will not be enough unless it is on a drip or bubbler system. Tree Gator Bags need to be filled every 2 to 3 days. During each watering, trees need 5 gallons of water for every caliper inch. So if your tree measures 6 caliper inches, that’s 30 gallons of water each watering cycle.
Do not use automatic sprinklers on newly planted trees and shrubs because set watering schedules do not adjust to plant needs and weather changes.
Trees and shrubs can be watered easily if you build a shallow basin surrounding the root area. Slowly fill soil basin around the base of the plant two times with water, allowing water to soak in and not run off.
Please keep in mind it is possible to overwater a tree.
For signs of overwatering, start with checking the top of the root ball, which can be done by simply walking across the top of the area. You are looking for saturation; the surface can be damp, but your foot should not sink in.
When using mulch, keep a depth of no more than 1.5 to 2 inches on top of the root ball. Too much mulch can result in lack of oxygen to the tree, causing suffocation.
We strongly recommend the use of Superthrive (vitamin/growth hormone) once a month. If you start to see any decline in the health of your tree, you can increase the usage to twice a month. Use a product as needed for defending against harmful insects.
Watering Established Lawns
Once your lawn is established, scale your watering down. To train the roots to go deeper (and thus become more winter hardy and drought resistant), do not water blindly on a rigid schedule. Hold off watering your grass until a slight wilt is detected in the foliage, then give it two consecutive days of heavy watering. Taking your sprinkler system off the timer and following these instructions will strengthen your grass while lowering your water bills.
By visually inspecting and adjusting each station of your sprinkler system, you can avoid both grass problems and water waste. Some stations will require more time or less time than others. Water each station until runoff is seen. Then, back the station off by a few minutes.
Water your lawn only in the morning, not in the evening. Your municipality may be under watering restrictions due to drought conditions. Contact your city water department to find out when you are allowed to water.
Watering Newly Planted Sod
With newly planted sod, water heavily for 7 to 10 days at any time of day and then scale your watering down. “Watering heavily” means watering to the point of saturation. This could mean as many as 20 – 30 minutes per station, two (or even three) times a day. Reduce this time if you see runoff, but water to this point. If it is drying out before sunset, add an additional cycle.
You cannot over water new sod during this 7 – 10 day period. After this time period, follow the watering guidelines for established lawns, which are listed below.
Other Watering Recommendations
Caution – There is no set watering schedule, water as needed. Check the moisture level first. Sprinkler systems are not sufficient when it comes to properly watering your trees.
Note: Please keep in mind it is possible to over water a tree.
- The best time for watering is early in the morning. In the heat of the day between 10 am and 6 pm – sun and wind quickly evaporate a significant quantity of water.
- Watering during the night may promote disease.
- A healthy plant is 75 to 90% water. Adequate water is especially critical during the first few weeks of growth, while plants are building their root systems and getting established.
- Continue to check moisture levels, even if your irrigation is on a scheduled time. Temperature and wind variations can lead to over or under watering.
- Water a few days per week, but water it deeply, allowing the water to soak deep into the earth. This will help encourage deeper root growth that allows plants to survive times of drought.