En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Sunday - June 12, 2011

From: Norfolk, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Watering, Shade Tolerant
Title: Watering newly planted woodland plants in VA
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

How frequently should newly planted, native plants, growing in wooded areas be watered? Is it better to not water at all than to use sprinklers in which case the water rarely saturates the leaf matter on the surface, much less reaches the roots of the plants? Should we not use sprinklers and water exclusively with watering cans, directly on new plants (in a effort to not encourage fungi/mold)? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Newly planted plants should be watered only enough to prevent "flagging".  That is when the plant goes limp and bends over but bounces back when watered.  If a leaf or plant part wilts, it will often recover but if dries out enough to be crackly ... it's a goner.

You will have to be the judge of how often is enough as it depends on a number of factors such as: how strong the sunlight is, how quickly the soil dries and how much rain you are getting.  Although you would think that sprinklers are the same as rain, they are not and you are wise to avoid using them, if at all practical, for the reason you are wondering about.  Too much sprinkling promotes the growth of molds, fungi and diseases.

The plants will do best if they can take the water they need from the soil.  That means that ideally, you should hand water each plant, but around its base, not directly on it.  It is a good idea to put your hand into the soil under the leaves around the plant to feel how much moisture is in the soil before watering it.  If the soil is still moist, wait until it is a little drier.  You want the plant to develop deep roots that will reach down for moisture.

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Shade tolerant Wildflowers for Oklahoma City
April 16, 2012 - I live in Oklahoma City. I'm not in town very often, and am seeking low maintenance plants. I have MANY trees in my backyard, which makes it quite shady. I have raised beds amongst my rock garden ...
view the full question and answer

Shady Perennial Groundcover Suggestions for Indiana
April 21, 2013 - Could you please recommend perennial groundcovers for Indiana that are low and leafy, self-spreading, non-invasive, deer resistant, and moisture tolerant; and that are good for erosion control on a sh...
view the full question and answer

Native violets under maples from Gettysburg PA
July 06, 2012 - Just for your info (no need to post or reply), I saw an old post of a question of something to grow under maples. In central PA, native violets grow very well under several species of maples in lawns...
view the full question and answer

Fast growing shade tree for Phoenix, Arizona
November 07, 2007 - Would you recommend a fast growing shade tree for Phoenix, AZ that will grow at least 30 ft. high and with a similar canopy in clay soil?
view the full question and answer

Grasses for shady areas
November 24, 2013 - I would like to know which grasses would grow in mostly shady part of the house.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center