Pieris is a long-lived shrub that can develop drought tolerance at maturity. Proper watering is essential to help Pieris establish a healthy root system and grow robustly. Consistent and regular watering is needed for the first few seasons after Pieiris is transplanted. Gradually over the years, supplemental watering can be decreased as needed. Planting Pieris with shrubs and perennials that have the same water needs is important to help all of the plants thrive. Constant watering or boggy conditions will cause root rot in Pieris and eventual plant death.
How To Tell If Pieris Needs to be Watered
Pieris is a plant that may hide the fact that it needs water until it is severely desiccated. The strong, woody branches and evergreen leaves of Pieris can remain normal looking far longer than other less hardy shrubs. Extreme dehydration will result in yellowing and browning of the leaves and tips of the bloom stems. A Pieris that needs water in the early spring at the time of blooming will either fail to open all of the buds on the flowering stem, or the buds may fall off before opening. Overwatering of Pieris is a common situation and has much of the same symptoms as underwatering. The older leaves will yellow and fall off while the newest growth may not be affected for a long time.
How Often To Water Pieris
Young Pieris shrubs require consistent watering for the first year or two. One inch of water a week, broken into 2 sessions will help the roots to grow deep in the soil and establish strongly. Longer watering sessions, spaced well apart will produce a deeper root system than shorter, more frequent sessions.
Once Pieris is established, the watering intervals can be spread out from twice a week to once every week to 10 days. If you are gardening in a climate that receives regular rain in the summer, supplemental watering may not be needed. Letting the soil dry out an inch or 2 below the surface of the soil will help to ensure that Pieris is not overwatered.
Container-grown Pieris will require more frequent watering. The smaller the container, the more often a plant needs to be watered. During periods of extreme heat or dryness, moisture levels will need to be checked every day. Pieris growing in humid climates may need less watering even in hot weather. Pieris growing in dry climates may need daily water during hot weather. No more than the top 2-3 inches of soil should dry out before watering the pots.
Best Time To Water Pieris
Shrubs prefer to be watered early in the day. This will give the foliage time to dry out before dark. Watering early in the day will also ensure that the soil absorbs all of the water with little evaporation. Cool, moist soil in the early morning hours is more absorbent than dry soil, which takes longer to rehydrate. Any watering that needs to be done in the winter should be done later in the morning after the sun has warmed up the soil. No watering should occur during a hard freeze.
How to Water Pieris
Step 1 - Determine if the soil is dry or still moist from the last watering
The soil should never be allowed to dry out more than 2-3 inches below the surface between watering's. If the soil is still damp, check the next day for moisture levels.
Step 2 - Pieris need about 1 inch of water every week during the active growing season
Longer watering's delivered less frequently will thoroughly wet the soil and encourage the root system to grow deeper in search of moisture.
Step 3 - Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses for the deepest watering
Drip irrigation and soaker hoses get water right where it is needed at the root zone of the plant. The water soaks deep in the soil with little evaporation or wetting of foliage. As a result, roots grow deeper in the ground, and the foliage is not in danger of being attacked by diseases that favor damp foliage.
Step 4 - Let the soil dry out a bit between waterings
Letting Pieris dry out slightly between watering's will protect the roots from being overwatered.
Pieris Watering Tips
- Drip irrigation and soaker hoses get the water right to the root zone
- Pieris benefits from a slight drying out between watering's
- One inch of water a week is essential to establish Pieris in the first 2 years
- Pieris will be more drought tolerant as it matures
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Author Robbin Small - Published 8-11-2022