Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

A Water-Holding Basin for New Plantings

20150827To ensure proper watering the first year after planting, that is, the year in which plants are settling in and will need more water than when they are fully established, why not form a watering basin around each new plant?

This technique is used mainly with trees, shrubs and conifers because they tend to be slower to establish than herbaceous plants and also because they are usually a good size at planting and therefore require a greater quantity of water each time you irrigate. However, it can also be applied to any plant, especially if it’s in a situation where it is likely to need frequent watering.

A water-holding basin is simply made of a berm of soil up to 15 cm high all around the root ball. When you water, simply fill the basin with water. The water will then percolate into the soil exactly where the plant needs it!

When the plant is well established, usually after a year, just remove the basin and then the plant will benefit from the same watering as neighboring plants. In a situation where the plant is likely to continue to suffer from a lack of water and therefore will need regular watering (plantings under a roof overhang, in sandy soil, under trees with abundant roots, arid climate, etc.), however, you can leave the basin in place permanently.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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