We cannot stress enough the importance of watering and soakings of stock planted during spring and summer. It is not sufficient to use sprinklers on larger plants – they really require the immediate root ball area to be soaked, preferably with porous pipe. Larger hedging, including Laurel and Yew, must not be allowed to dry out.
Lack of correct watering is the largest cause of plant losses and can kill a plant in two to three days in summer conditions. Over-watering takes many weeks to have any effect, so do always try extra water first if plants are under stress and loosing leaf.
Watering By Hand or With Hose Pipe
Spring/Summer/Autumn (whilst still warm):
Water your plants either morning or evening (both in very dry and hot periods) when they are no longer in full sun. Water at the base of the plant giving a good soaking. Imagine you are watering to the depth of the root system, not just on the surface. For large shrubs/climbers and hedging also shower the whole plant from the top if the leaves start to wilt.
It is essential to give your plants a good soak rather than watering lightly, which tends to bring the roots to the surface.
Water with care and only early in the morning if it is frost-free. Check soil first (see overleaf) and it is better to leave soil on the dry side for new planting done in the winter.
Watering with Porous Pipe
If you have porous pipe, or leaky hose as it can be called, run this until the ground is moist, up to two hours per day, particularly in hot weather. Do this once a day late evening. Porous pipe can be purchased in the garden centres.
As with watering by hand, water with care in the winter (see above)
Testing the Condition of the Soil
You can tell whether the soil is dry or moist, by doing the following soil test. Take some soil and squeeze it in your hand. If it binds and holds, there is no need to water. If doesn’t bind at all, it needs water urgently and if it binds but then crumbles when touched, it needs some water and regular checking. If you can squeeze out water when suqueezing the soil, it is too wet, so leave to dry out.