Whether it’s under the pressure of an approaching Kentucky Derby week, getting ready to head out of town for summer vacation, or the sheer embarrassment of having had plants in black plastic pots on the driveway for far too long, from time to time we all fall victim to the “I’m going out there right now to jam all those plants in the ground,” gardening syndrome. And as much as experienced gardeners know better, it’s hard not to think of that planting as the end product of a process.
Of course, as we all know ― many of us from personal experience ― that planting isn’t the end product. It’s actually just the beginning.
Providing sufficient irrigation to help a plant navigate the re-establishment process can be difficult and confusing. If it rains overnight, no need for irrigation this morning, right? If the soil around the plant’s root ball is moist, skip a day, right? I just watered it yesterday so I’m good for today, correct?
The first consideration required to plan your irrigation needs is how the plant was produced. So here’s what to know about how to care for your newly planted plants:
How often should I water field-grown plants?
Field-grown plants, most often sold balled and wrapped in burlap, are most often grown in field soil very high in mineral content. It likely has some organic matter added for fertility reasons but compared to a soilless, container mix, field soils are very, very fine textured. They hold lots and lots of water after they are well watered. They dry out much more slowly than a soilless mix and are also much harder to thoroughly irrigate.