Prairie Parcel Restoration

Watering

This is a tricky topic. Should you water the parcel after planting?

Watering depends on a few factors. Is there a convenient water supply? Do you have the equipment (hose and sprinklers)? Do you have the time?

If you started your parcel with any transplants, you must water them at least for the first week or so. You do not have to water seeded areas, but germination then is at the mercy of the environmental conditions.

If you want to start seeing results quickly, then watering is the way to go. Remember that if you start watering, you must continue to water until the seeds have germinated and have established growing (about 2 weeks). The worst thing that you can do is to water to begin germination and then let the soil dry out (remember weekends, holidays, etc.). This will kill the newly germinated plants because they would not have had enough time to establish good root structure. Be warned though that watering also stimulates the growth of non-native "weed" species. Not watering actually is a plus for the native species which are better adapted to the growing conditions in this area.

So, consider the options carefully. For our restoration, the timing and conditions indicated watering, so we did. It did add a consistent time and labor commitment, and encouraged weed growth, but the results were very positive in the short term.

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