Watering can be tricky, especially when soil consistencies vary so much from one microclimate to the other in Middle Tennessee. There is one way to water plants so that they get the water they need, without over watering. This will eliminate about 95% of watering issues. About 99% of plants that die each year are killed by insufficient watering, either too much or not enough.

  • When planting, be sure to use soil conditioner so the soil will be more predictable.
  • Mulching around plants is always recommended, and helps reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation. It also insulates the root system, saving water and keeping the roots warm in the winter time.
  • Upon planting a new tree, shrub, or perennial, thoroughly water the plant initially. This is after mulching around the base of the tree. Keep in mind that when you are initially watering, that you are trying to soak the whole root ball very thoroughly. This could take several minutes. Check with your hand to make sure water penetrated the soil and the root ball is wet.
  • Wait 24 hours, and go out, and manually check the soil again. If the top 3-4 inches is dry in 24 hours time, you’ll know the soil there drains very fast and you will need to keep on the watering. If the top 3-4” of soil is dry, water again thoroughly, and repeat the step.
    • If the soil is moist in the top 3-4”, wait 24 hours, and check it again by using a finger to dig into the soil. Repeat this process until the top 3-4” of soil dries out somewhat, then water.
    • If the soil stays wet for more than 3 days, you might have a poorly draining spot and the plant might either need to be moved, or you might need amend the soil in a different way (some use gravel to raise the plant). If the soil stays wet for more than 3 days, please contact Southbranch Nursery for instructions.
  • Please keep in mind it’s better to water with a trickle than to use a high pressure stream
  • It’s best to water in the morning, giving the soil and plant time to dry out in the sun. Watering at night is not recommended with some specific plant types.
  • Some plants do not like having their foliage sprayed in certain weather. For example, roses do not like having their foliage wet on hot, sunny afternoons.
  • Overwatering is as detrimental as underwatering, so giving some plants a ‘little extra’ is not so beneficial to their health.

There is no situation where you would water a plant for the same amount of time everyday, unless it’s in a pot or container. Weather conditions, soil consistency, and plant type are all going to dictate the amount of water needed.