En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Watering newly planted woodland plants in VA

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

Erosion Control with perennials for a shady Dallas bank
July 25, 2013 - Thank you for your help with turf or perennials on a shaded bank, 4000 sq ft, for the Dallas area that has good roots, grows in semi shade to shade, is on a steep bank so cannot mow, and flowers the l...
view the full question and answer

Native turkscap failing to thrive in Shiro TX
March 19, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Two years ago I transplanted several native (not cultivars) Drummond's turkscaps in the proximity of water oaks in the front yard. All get shade and some sun. They seemed to ...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing vine for shade in Brooklyn
June 05, 2011 - I am looking for a flowering vine that is fast growing and will be able to flower this season if I plant it within next couple weeks (in June) here in Brooklyn. I want something that will grow up a pi...
view the full question and answer

Privacy shrub in part shade to shade in Austin
April 29, 2010 - Barbara Medford's July 1, 2008 reply regarding Little Emperor Japanese Blueberry Tree is exactly my experience with cherry laurel in partial sun/shaded area in Austin, Texas. For 6 - 8' height si...
view the full question and answer

Native trees for shade in Burbank, CA
May 13, 2009 - I need a few ideas for a non-deciduous (or nearly non-deciduous)tree that grows fast and will provide shade. Shade need not be total. Chinese Elms come to mind but I'm not sure of the growth rate. ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center