Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

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When and how should I water my trees and shrubs?

Trees and shrubs depend on proper watering, especially during the first two to three years after planting. These plants are most susceptible to drought or over-watering injuries while they are becoming established in the yard.

Do not over-water or leave the soil saturated for a long period of time, especially on compacted or poorly drained clay soil. One inch of water per week for newly planted trees and shrubs, is the general rule, although frequency varies with different types of plants, different soil types, exposure to sun, wind, amount of rain, and whether or not the plant is mulched. To monitor how much water is received from a sprinkler, use a can placed in the watering zone. When the can is filled with an inch of water, you have watered sufficiently. If you are letting the hose run on a newly planted tree, let it run for at least 15-30 minutes to assure deep watering. It is important that the soil be watered thoroughly to encourage deep rooting. Less frequent, slow and deep watering is preferable to frequent shallow watering. To determine acutal moisture content, dig into the soil with a trovel or small shovel.

Established trees and shrubs generally receive sufficient moisture during a normal lawn watering program or from natural rainfall. If natural rainfall has not been adequate, and watering is necessary, make sure that the sprinkler is positioned so that the entire area within the drip line of the branches receives water. Most trees and shrubs have roots that extend to the drip line and beyond. The drip line represents the area under the tree or shrub measured straight down from the tip-end of the branches. As with newly planted trees, less frequent but deep watering is preferable to frequent shallow watering.