One of the most frequently asked questions we get around here is “how should I be watering?”. That is a super loaded question because there are so many factors to consider. Here are some guidelines that will help with all landscapes and lawns of all different stages of growth.
The most general term we’ve coined for watering is “infrequent but heavy”. If you are a past customer than you have likely heard one of us say that; this couldn’t be truer. The idea is to only water when necessary, but when you water, water heavily. This method will ensure that roots run deep into good soil and will be well regulated during the hottest and coldest weather. Watering infrequently ensures that rot will not develop. Remember that roots for new grass or ground cover may only be 2-3 inches below the surface but the roots for your new trees maybe as much as 2 feet down. You will need to water for all depths of root systems. The irrigation systems help with that but do require your interaction.
More on that below.
With few exceptions, plant and grass roots needs to stay moist, particularly during the first two years of installation. The idea behind watering a new landscape is to let the mulch and top layer of soil to dry between waterings. Fungal development starts at the “collar” of the plant, by allowing the mulch/top layer of soil to dry will ensure that fungus will not develop.
Brand New Landscapes: This concept of infrequent but heavy still applies to new landscaping, although the time of year makes a big difference. For our customers that we landscape their yard in the summer, this sometime means watering every day or twice a day every other day for a short duration. The goal again here is to keep an eye at the base of the plant/grass and make sure it is slightly drying between waterings to avoid rot. If you have questions about watering a new landscape, make sure to contact us and stay in contact with us to ensure the best success for your plants and grass.
Shouldn’t my sprinkler system do all the work? Yes and no. The sprinkler systems are designed to run as long or as short of a duration as you tell it to. Some new technology can help regulate the watering based on weather patterns but the tech is still new and I personally wouldn’t rely on it. Also, when we install a new system, we set the system to water the new landscaping for the first 1-4 weeks. After that time period, it may be time to reduce frequency but increase the interval to make sure you watering the best way for the establishing plants. This is your responsibility as the owner of the new landscape to stay in touch with us as you have questions and if you feel like the system needs to be adjusted. We are happy to give advice as needed but we service so many homes in south Texas, it would impossible for us to stay in touch with everyone about the needs of their particular landscape. We are always willing to help so let us know as questions arise.
What about Xersicapes? Texas native plants and the most drought tolerant plants that we install can be complete different animals and require special instructions. You will know if you have these plants because they would be part of your design package and we would discuss the needs of these particular plants separately from the other plants. These plants generally need less than half of the water of a traditional landscape. Make sure to make accommodations to keep an eye on these. If an ornamental grass, yucca, agave or cactus looks rough; it is usually due to over watering. We install less drip irrigation on and around these types of plants but you will still need to be diligent about not watering too much.
If you can lock in the watering on your new garden and lawn, you will have stunning results for years to come. Finding that sweet spot for your landscape takes some time but will be well worth the effort as your landscape thrives to its fullest potential. Over watering can be just as damaging and even more in some cases then under watering so remember to reach out and ask us if you have concerns about the watering of your new and established landscaping.
Here is a general seasonal schedule for established landscapes:
Cooler Months December-March: Once a week should be fine. We recommend 25-35 minutes of watering for the lawn and 60-80 minutes with drip irrigation
Warmer Months April-August: Twice a week should be fine but may require a third time if the weather is really hot. We recommend 25-35 minutes of watering per day of watering for the lawn and 60-80 minutes with drip irrigation per day of watering
Fall Months September- November: Once a week should be fine but may require a second watering if the weather is extra warm. We recommend 25-35 minutes of watering for the lawn and 60-80 minutes with drip irrigation
Good luck and let us know as you have questions along the way.