Watering Requirements for Trees, Shrubs, Perennials, and Annuals in Arid Colorado and the Drip Irrigation Systems Designed to Water Them

Genesis Group cares about your enjoyment of the landscape that we design and install. This means that we also care about the health and vitality of all the “plantings” in your landscape: from the day we install them, throughout the warranty period, and the lifetime of the plant. As such, we take it seriously to equip and educate you, the homeowner, to care for your plants (“plant” and “planting” encompass trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals).

First off, there are some basics to remember regarding your plants and the water they need:

  • Plants can be watered too often, but they cannot be watered too deep. Always remember to water deeply and less often to encourage deep roots. This will allow oxygen in as well. The entire root ball needs to get wet at each watering.
  • Plant roots need to dry out just a bit between watering to balance oxygen with moisture. Too much moisture can lead to rot, and too little results in a stressed plant with poor growth.
  • Be sure to keep new plants on the moist side until they are established and roots have grown out.
  • Much like people who enjoy eating on a regular schedule, a plant thrives with a consistent watering schedule.
  • It takes two to three years of consistent care to establish plants for long-term survival.

Does this sound like a lot of work? Is it worth investing in plants in our harsh climate? If it relies on us having the time, the memory, and the desire, then many of us may as well kiss our plant investment goodbye.

But there is a better way. . .The Drip System.

What The Drip System Is All About:

A working irrigation system feeding your plants is required to qualify for the Genesis Group warranty on your plants. Having a drip system installed is the best way to save water, save money, and ensure the very best survival chances for your plants. Drip systems provide a consistent condition in the soil for roots and other necessary organisms to expand. Drip systems wet the entire root ball beneath the surface, and keep roots cool, moist, and developing deeply. Shrubs, annuals, and perennials usually have one emitter installed. Trees usually have several emitters installed in order to wet the larger, circular, and shallow root systems.

Your system is designed, if installed by Genesis Group, to water evenly over a one-hour time session. This is achieved by using progressively larger flow rate emitters as the plant size increases. If your system has been drained for freeze protection, you must water by hose manually!

So, all that you need to do is use the chart below to set the watering frequency for your drip zones on your programmable timer and check in a few times a year (see below):

First week after planting Once a day, in winter once a week
Winter: January through March 20 2 times a month (when temps are above 40 degrees F). More often during dry, warm winters. Less often if moisture is provided by consistent snowfall.
Spring: March 20 through June 20 2-3 times a week (2 times if heavy clay)
Summer: June 20 through September 3-4 times a week (2-3 times if heavy clay)
Fall: October through December Once a week (when temps are above 40 degrees F, as its a very important time of the year for watering)


Other Recommended Periodic Care and Maintenance:

Although the drip system is the most crucial component, a few additional recommendations are listed below:

  • Feel the dirt near the plant roots to verify your sprinkler system is operating. This should be done several times per year or if you notice signs of stress in any of the plants. You can also purchase a moisture meter at your local nursery to help determine at deeper levels of soil moisture.
  • Fertilization of your plants is not an absolute necessity, but it will definitely improve growth habits (follow product directions to apply).
  • Trim off your plants (yearly in most cases) to greatly increase the number of years that your plant will provide beauty in your landscape. If a plant is allowed to get out of control, it can be hard to get it to look healthy again and often requires removal and replacement.

We hope this information is helpful and that you enjoy watching your plants and trees continue to grow!