Water, Water, Water
Proper watering is the most important factor when it comes to newly planted trees. And watering too little is just as problematic as watering too much. Since there are so many variables to every planting site, there are no hard rules, just general principles to guide good practices. But don’t worry, it’s not rocket science, scan the guidelines below and let your inner green thumb be your guide:
- Before planting the tree, water the surrounding soil until it is moist.
- Water the trees thoroughly with a steady stream of water after planting so as to keep the root ball moist.
- Start with a steady stream of water for 30 sec-1 min. If it appears the soil is draining, continue this practice a couple times a week (possibly more in hot summer months). If run-off occurs, slow down the stream and double the duration.
- Make sure the the soil around the tree is moist, but never soggy.
- It will take 2 growing seasons (up to 2 years) for the new tree to be established. Make sure the tree is regularly watered up to this point.
- Water the area directly below the plant, and not the leaves or the trunk.
- Water out to the drip line, that imaginary line created by the circumference of a tree’s longest branches.
Seems like a lot of stuff to remember? One simple test to determine if you’re watering too little or too much: Use a garden trowel to create a small trench about 2″ deep. With your finger, test the moisture. If it feels dry as a bone you need to water a little more…if its nice and moist, then you’re good 🙂
There are also products like the Tree Gator that will do the watering work for you.
Mulch, Mulch, Mulch
Another great practice, for newly planted trees and established trees is to add mulch/woodchips. You want to layer it no more than 2″ thick. The mulch will reduce water evaporation, add organic material to your soil, and suppress weeds. Just be sure the mulch is not piled up against the trunk, you don’t want to cover up the base of the trunk that swells out slightly, called the root flare.
Learn more about mulch here!