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Establishing healthy shrubs with less water


By balcony


Establishing healthy shrubs not the water-consuming task many think, research shows

Good news for your utility bills and the environment: New University of Florida research shows that landscape shrubs need much less water to establish healthy roots than you might expect.

“We finally have our irrigation recommendations for establishing shrubs backed up with science. We need less irrigation than many people think,” said Ed Gilman, a UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences environmental horticulture professor who led the research study.
The six-year study’s objective was to determine how best to irrigate shrubs during “establishment” — the 20- to 28-week period when shrubs’ roots grow until the plant can survive without irrigation.

The above is copied from: “”

I found this article on the watering of newly planted shrubs & I thought you may find it interesting. The study, over a period of 6 years, took place in Florida, nevertheless I think we could take some of its conclusions & put them in practice in our gardens.

What do you think? I would be very interested in your opinions & this will I think make for a good discussion topic.

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Ho hum, Balcony! What I DO know is that it hasn't rained here for almost a month, and I have had to water my new Hydrangea because it was looking very, very sad.

I'm not sure what they're suggesting - to cut down on watering? By how much?

Maybe I should read the whole article and find out!!

28 Sep, 2009


I work on a 'no watering' principle so once anything is planted and reasonably established, it doesn't get any more water unless it is showing signs of real distress (as happened in the hot summer thre years ago). Nothing has had any extra water since then except daphnes (which die if they dry out) and conifers (which don't give any warning signs and are green one day and brown the next)

28 Sep, 2009


As the study was conducted in Florida, perhaps the results would be different here in the UK. As I don't have a garden & garden in pots on a balcony I don't have shrubs (I don't think my 3 conifers count as shrubs?) the article in question doesn't affect me. Nevertheless, I did add water retaining granules to my hanging baskets for the first time this year & I've noticed the difference in watering! I now only need to water them ONCE a day compared to at least TWICE a day other years. There were a couple of extraordinary days when I did have to water twice or risk loosing all my Fuchsias. (5 to each of the 5 baskets).

It would be very interesting to read what people do with their newly planted shrubs. If I remember right the report seemed to indicate that they should be water during the first 6 months & thereafter should be left to fend for themselves.

It also spoke about the FREQUENCY of watering as being very important. Better little & often than a heavy soaking on the odd occasion I think sums it up.

We have had very dry weather here in East Anglia for the whole of September, a fact I was commenting on to my wife just this morning, saying we may not break/make any records for the driest & warmest September on record but it has been the driest & warmest for many years - or at least it seems that way!

28 Sep, 2009


Now that is completely the opposite from established practice...I understood that watering well occasionally encouraged the roots to go deeper, while the 'little and often watering' got the roots staying at the surface of the soil....not a good thing in drought conditions.

28 Sep, 2009


'Experts' seem to be always changing their minds. I'm sure their research was very thorough but it doesn't mean it would be right for our climate.

29 Sep, 2009


For the western & northern parts of the UK I would think that we get enough rain so that after 6 months shrubs can look after themselves & need no or very little additional watering.

Here in East Anglia we are very near drought conditions in spite of all the rain we had in July. Shrubs planted after July ended would have had very little rain. As so many shrubs are bought in containers ready to go into the garden they can be planted at any moment so they would probably need to be watered more often than say shrubs planted at the "traditional" time, i.e. in the early autumn.

30 Sep, 2009

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