You’ve made a considerable investment in landscaping your Southwest Florida home, and your landscape designer says to hand-water your new plantings until they’re “established.” What exactly does that mean? Well, every species has its own set of requirements to thrive, but generally speaking, a well- established plant is one that can survive and grow with the least amount of irrigation.
Which means you’ve got to get in there early – as soon as your plants are installed – and water by hand daily for at least a month (longer for larger plants or trees/palms) to get your plants nicely rooted.
No, you can’t depend on your nice big irrigation system to do all the work.
You can’t go on vacation for a week and expect your plants to look good when you get back.
You can’t rely on a forecast of rain to do the trick.
To protect your investment, you need to supplement with good old-fashioned hand watering, as in a spigot, a hose and some decent upper-arm strength so you can unwind that hose reel and give your plants a long, deep drink. If you’ve scheduled your cruise the week after plant installation (what were you thinking?), enlist the help of a neighbor and express your thanks with a gift card. The time he or she spends to properly water your plant investment will be significant.
All this is a moot point if you don’t have healthy plants to begin with, so be sure to hire a professional landscape company that uses high quality stock. A plant that has overgrown its containers has high water needs and can be slow to establish. Small root balls will dry out a lot faster than larger ones, so choose larger plants in the beginning if your budget allows.
Proper plant placement also affects the establishment and longevity of your plants (this shouldn’t be an issue if your landscape is professionally designed). Double check your plants’ needs before you make a costly mistake of putting a sun-loving species in the shade
Bottom line: Good plant establishment is critical for the long-term health and performance of plantings, so make sure your new landscape is watered properly. Once it’s established, you can go on all the cruises you want and rely on consistent, regular irrigation (and Mother Nature when she’s in a good mood) to do the rest. For more guidance on proper plant selection and maintenance, contact ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design or 941.488.8897. Our nationally ranked company serves HOA communities in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties.