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Too much water or not enough?

Posted by araluen 5 (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 9, 08 at 12:07


I would love to know how much everyone is watering. I have a new large formal raised garden with roses, boxwoods, perennials etc in full sun. We bought in new dirt and I am hand watering twice a day with well water. I do do the make a ball in your palm and toss it from hand to hand test, still I am just not sure. Because the garden is so new, just transplanted everything last month I dont know if the leaves turning yellow or in the case of barberry just dropping off is due to the transplant shock or too much water... am I killing them with kindness? thanks

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Too much water or not enough?

It sure sounds like too much. Even with new plants, I'd water about once every 4 - 7 days.

If you can get a mulch down, that will help a lot by keeping a more even temperature and moisture level in the soil.

RE: Too much water or not enough?

I second that opinion. Water deeply, but not that often. The top inch or two of soil should dry out a little in between waterings.

RE: Too much water or not enough?

I third that opinion! If you're feeling unsure, dig down in right next to the plant/root ball far enough that you're at least halfway down the root ball and see how wet the soil is down there. If it's still wet, wait a couple more days and check again. You need to leave the soil dry about halfway down the root ball so the roots will start to go looking for the moisture that's below where they were when they were planted. As long as the soil right around the root ball stays wet, they'll just sit there and won't do much growing. And if it's too wet, oxygen will be excluded from the soil and the roots will rot.

Too dry does less harm than too wet, so, if in doubt, wait to water. The plants can actually wilt somewhat from being too dry and it won't do any serious or long term harm. If you notice something wilting, wait till its in the shade and see if it perks back up again. If it does, its probably still fine for a couple more days. If it doesnt perk back up, check the soil to see if it's really dry. Overwatered plants can wilt too, so don't assume wilting means somethings too dry without actually checking the soil several inches down. So start letting them dry out quite a bit more, and see how they're doing.

Let us know how theyre doing,

RE: Too much water or not enough?

I would only add that when plants are newly transplanted, they can need more water, especially when it's hot. Once a day was probably OK for the first week, but after that week, it should have been reduced to every two days, then every three days, and so on until you find the right balance. But if it's been a month, they should be sending out roots now. Definitely cover the soil with a good mulch or even use compost as a much, which I do. If you've watered that much for a month, you could very well have killed some plants or made them "mostly dead" (my second Princess Bride reference today, sorry!).

Good luck!

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