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

Submitted by on 22 November, 2018 – 4:32 am
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 of what you might expect.

“We finally have our irrigation recommendations for the establishment of shrubs back up with science. We need less watering than many people think,” said Ed Gilman, a UF Institute of Food Science and Agriculture professor of environmental horticulture who led the research study.

The goal of six years of the study was to determine the best way to water the shrubs during the “establishment” – the 20 – to 28-weeks when the roots of the shrubs’ growing until the plant can survive without irrigation.

The study examined the frequency of irrigation and volume of quality, survival and growth rates of three-gallon container-grown shrubs. The plants were examined in Fort Lauderdale, balsam, Apopka and Citra, places three districts covering water management in Florida and have varied growing conditions.
Some of the ornamental shrubs most popular state were evaluated, including both native and nonnative species such as yaupon holly and gardenia.

“One of the results we have observed is that there are no differences between native and non-native species for the amount of water required for the establishment,” Gilman said. “This often surprises people, but emphasized that the principle of the Florida-friendly – plant, right place – it is worth continuing.”

Florida, to modes of garden planting that takes into account local conditions, maintenance needs and local weather. These landscapes can be used both native and nonnative plants, provided that the lack of native plants are an invasive species.

Regular irrigation in the months after planting shrubs helps you stay healthy and attractive, as it set. However, an eyebrow-raising finding study is that light, frequent watering is much more efficient and effective application of large amounts less often.

North of Orlando, Gilman recommends using as little as 1 gallon of water per bush, applied every week. In southern Florida, which recommended every four days.

More frequent watering, as every four days in northern Florida, and every two days in southern Florida, resulting in stronger growth of the plant. But the application of more than 1 gallon of water for irrigation does not increase survival or growth, she said.

“The results showed that the application of large volumes of water can not compensate for the infrequent irrigation,” said Gilman. “This means you should water more frequently, but with less water in each irrigation event. That helps plants to achieve the proper establishment and, in turn, means less water in the long term.”

Gardeners should keep your watering schedule to the bushes survive alone in the rain, once the roots have grown to the edge of the crown foliage, usually within 28 weeks from sowing.

In the long hot, dry periods, watering occasionally may be needed after that was established shrubs. Time can occur at any time in Florida, but more likely in spring and autumn – April, May, October and sometimes November.

In the first year after planting, the use of gallons 1 to 2 of water when less than a quarter inch of rain in a period of two weeks. A drought-sensitive trees, such as coffee and wild holly fern may require supplemental irrigation, and more frequently, while drought-tolerant shrubs such as Burford holly, may need very little.

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