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What are the right rules for watering new plants?

rolanda.woorolanda.woo Posts: 93
edited 6 July in Problem solving
I'm really struggling to make up my mind every day if I'm overwatering or underwatering. 

1. A Cercis shrub. Very young. In a corner with open sky upwards, but surrounded by a fence (1m away), a shed (2m away) and a conifer (2m away). So when I initially dug the planting hole, after about 30cm, I found the soil was as dry as dust. So I tried to water it EVERYDAY, with about 3-6L water around it. But some young leaves - in the middle of the stems - turned yellow. I asked the nursery, they replied saying I shall water more (I didn't tell them how much I've been watering) and give general plant feed. Am I underwatering with 3-6L a day? Or shall I give it much more water in one go for a good soak and then leave it to dry a bit for 2-3 days before I water again?

2. A young Rosa rubrifolia (glauca) . Very young and delicate one - about 1M tall. I heard roses are really thirsty plants. So I tried to give it about 2-3L a day. But again, I became unsure when some very young leaves lower down started turning yellow. Overwatered or underwatered?

3. New shoots from bulbs. I planted quite a few in late May. Some shoots have grown into a decent size and some still really really small. I suppose their roots are really shallow, so I need to water more frequently (daily) to make sure the top of the soil is moist?


Another question about those moisture meters. I have one and it seems to work. Can I trust it for deeper down where my finger can't reach?

Thank you! Any advice is appreciated.


Posts

  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 15,663
    edited 6 July
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  • rolanda.woorolanda.woo Posts: 93
    edited 6 July
    @Fire, Thanks! But I'm really hesitant with the area for Cercis. Before I planted it in, I poured quite a bit water to the dry planting area. It took ages for the part of dry soil to absorb the water I gave it and it even became muddy. So my confidence of non-clay soil has been undermined by that scene. I live in North London. - 

    Shall I water everyday or shall I give them a very good soak twice/three times a week instead?

    Can I trust the moisture meter? It showed "wet" in all these areas with the whole pins in soil - about 20cm deep down.
  • bcpathomebcpathome Buckinghamshire Posts: 529
    If it’s showing wet then it’s wet. If I were you I’d water every other day and see if it makes a difference 
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 5,315
    Better to give a soak then let it drain till just moist before watering again.  You want the roots to track down if you keep watering the top the roots will stay on the surface, and the plants will struggle to establish. 
    AB Still learning

  • rolanda.woorolanda.woo Posts: 93
    Better to give a soak then let it drain till just moist before watering again.  You want the roots to track down if you keep watering the top the roots will stay on the surface, and the plants will struggle to establish. 

    Good point. I forgot about this rule. Thanks!
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,433
    We all get into a muddle over watering but I think there are some general principles to help. First, check if your plant prefers any extreme conditions - some are designed for life in a bog, some need dry, gritty conditions and this will influence your watering.
    Next, think about how rapidly your soil drains. Dig a little hole and stick your hand in if you're not sure. For trees and shrubs, go down to about 18 inches.
    Look at the position and the weather. A sunny, windy day will dry out your plant much faster than a dull, quiet one. Other plants close by will take up water, too.
    When you do water, a good soaking, right down to the roots is best, not a quick piddle on the surface. Put on the water slowly and check it doesn't just run off the surface but goes really deep. Wait until the top few inches of soil are drying out, then water again. That could be next day or not for a week, it's conditions, not timing.
    Finally, I'm afraid your conifer is much too close unless it's one of those miniature ones. 
  • rolanda.woorolanda.woo Posts: 93
    edited 6 July
    Posy said:

    Finally, I'm afraid your conifer is much too close unless it's one of those miniature ones. 

    Thanks for a recount of all these good rules. For the conifer, I don't have much choice. A very narrow garden with the conifer in a corner. We did get it halved from the top and made it about 4m high at the moment. Not small, but not enormous either.  

    Where I planted the Cercis, there used to be a mahonia which we cut it down and I dug the root out. I need to fill that area with something smaller. Sounds really messy, but with all the shrubs/small tress I looked at, Cercis stands a better choice. Just only if it can establish...
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