How Often Should You Water New And Established Shrubs?

One of the most important considerations when planting a new garden or landscaping project is watering – especially if you’re planting shrubs or trees. Unfortunately, few people understand the importance of regularly watering shrubs or watering them properly.

This blog aims to dispel some myths about watering shrubs and help you water them properly, so they survive and thrive. Understanding the basics of watering shrubs can save you a lot of trouble in the future.

How often should you water established shrubs?

How often should you water established shrubs

Shrubs need water, but how much and when? Established shrubs, such as roses and plants in pots, need water less often than new plants or shrubs growing in the ground. Wait two weeks after you last watered them before watering them again.

If your soil is very clay-based, water just once a month instead of every two weeks to help reduce drainage problems. Always water established shrubs when the soil is dry to the touch, preventing root damage. Click here to know How long to water the garden with a sprinkler.

Water new shrubs immediately after planting

  • Watering new shrubs immediately after planting helps them establish and avoid root problems.
  • Water new shrubs every two weeks during the first year
  • Watering new shrubs every two weeks during the first year will help them grow fast and avoid root problems. Water lightly at this stage to prevent damage to roots.

No need to be stingy

Water experts recommend that you water your shrubs deeply (but not too frequently) because they need to be able to grow deep into the soil to find water. If you only water them superficially, their roots will grow shallow and unable to access moisture in times of drought.

Also, if you water shrubs regularly throughout the season, their roots will never have time to develop correctly. The longer it takes for a root system to develop, the more vulnerable it is when dry conditions prevail again.

Water deeply but infrequently

Shrubs, bushes, and trees need less water than annuals and vegetables. This is because they’re established enough to withstand drought conditions, so you don’t need to keep them constantly moist.

How often you should water depends on the size of the shrub or tree and your climate. For example:

In most climates, water newly planted shrubs only once per month during the growing season (spring through fall).

Water established shrubs when the soil is dry to the touch and avoid watering in late summer or early autumn when new growth will be spindly.

How long can shrubs go without water?

Some shrubs can go for two weeks without water, while others will die within a day or two without water. The amount of time you need to wait depends on the plant type and the climate in which it is growing.

Some plants are very tolerant of drought conditions and can go for a long time without water. However, other plants need regular attention and may start looking unhealthy if they do not receive enough moisture.

Shrubs that can survive up to four weeks without being watered include cotoneaster (Cotoneaster), hawthorn (Crataegus), hollyhock (Alcea rosea), photinia (Photinia serratifolia’ Brilliant’), purple smoke bush (Cotoneaster horizontalis ‘Purple Cloud’), viburnum opulus “Winterthur”**(Viburnum opulus “Winterthur”), nandina Domestica (Nandina Domestica).

Water regularly, but not too frequently

If you’re a little unsure when to water your shrubs, the best rule is to give them water when they need it. For example, if your soil feels dry 2 inches below the surface, then that’s probably a good time to start watering.

Just don’t overdo it. You don’t want to water so much that the roots grow into drainage holes and become compacted or rot from excess moisture.

If you’re concerned about overwatering, try using an oscillating sprinkler with an adjustable shutoff valve (like this one). The sprinkler will spray for about 15 seconds, then turn off for 30 seconds before repeating the cycle—this will allow for even coverage without drowning any nearby plants in too much H2O.

When should you water shrubs?

It’s important to water shrubs in a way best suited to their individual needs. Here are some tips to water shrubs the right way:

  • Avoid over-watering shrubs as this can lead to root rot, sod breakage, and even tree death.
  • Wait until morning to water shrubs since most of their water uptake occurs at night.
  • Mulch around plants to help retain moisture and reduce watering needs by 50%.
  • When there is a noticeable decrease in leaf size or when the soil feels dry.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. How do I determine when my shrubs are thirsty?

One way to determine when your plants need water is by checking their weight of the plants. If the plants are significantly less heavy than usual, they may be thirsty and need water.
Another indicator of when a plant needs water is if there’s moisture present around the roots. When soil is moist, roots can better absorb water and nutrients.
Finally, when determining when a shrub is thirsty, you can use a simple rule of thumb: If the leaves on the shrub droop or turn yellow and brown, it is time for water.

2. What are some signs that it is time to water my shrub?

Drooping leaves, wilting plants, poor root growth, and moist soil are all signs that it is time to water your shrub.

3. What are the benefits of watering and pruning my shrubs?

Regular watering and pruning of shrubs help keep the shrub’s shape while removing dead branches, twigs, and other excess vegetation. This prevents the shrub from becoming too woody and bulky and promotes healthy growth.
In addition, proper watering keeps the soil moist, encouraging root growth and healthy leaves. Lastly, regular watering and pruning of your shrubs will help them grow taller and healthier.

4. When should I prune my shrubs?

It is important to prune your shrubs regularly to keep them healthy and growing at their fastest rate. The best time to do this is typically in the early spring, when new shoots start to emerge, and again in the autumn when the leaves are falling off.

5. Is it possible for me to overwater my plants if they’re in a pot or container?

You can overwater your plants if they’re in a pot or container, but it’s important to understand that they will likely require water daily. Use the “wet weight / dry weight” method to determine how much water your plant needs.
This measures the amount of water present while the plant is soaking and then compares it to the amount of moisture (and hence soil) that remains after watering. Try to give them enough water while still allowing them to drain properly – excess water can cause root rot.

6. What should I do if my shrubs show dryness or insect damage?

If you’re noticing dryness or insect damage on your shrubs, the first step is to water them less. Over-watering is the number one cause of shrub die-off, so it’s important not to overwater your plants.
If that doesn’t work, the next step is applying organic neem oil sprayed onto the foliage. Neem oil is a natural pesticide and fungicide that helps improve the health of plants by killing off harmful bugs and fungi.


Watering established shrubs is essential for their growth and health. However, watering them correctly and at the right time is important to ensure they get the necessary water and nutrients. Follow the instructions mentioned above on watering shrubs the right way.


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