How To Water Newly Planted Shrubs And Trees

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This article provides information about how to water newly planted shrubs or trees
by Brett · All Zones · Watering · 1 Comments · July 24, 2013 · 2,892 views

Contrary to popular belief, more newly planted shrubs and trees planted in landscape beds die from too much water than from too little water. When we plant a new shrub or tree in the ground, especially during the hotter summer months, the tendency is to think it has to be watered every day in order to grow roots and become established in its new home.

Fact is, rarely will a newly planted shrub require daily watering to survive and thrive. More often than not, daily soaking will lead to problems with the plants roots including the dreaded "root rot," which almost always results in death of the plant.

It‘s difficult to teach proper watering techniques, necessary to establish and maintain woody trees and shrubs. Part of the problem is that there are many variables that must be considered - each landscape situation has unique components that influence how much and how often water needs to be applied. Then factor in the weather conditions that vary from site to site and season to season, and the issue becomes more confounding. In the final analysis, proper watering requires that the person responsible must become familiar with the water requirements of the plants in their landscape, and the site and soil where the plants are growing. They must regularly check the soil moisture as a guide, and then apply common sense to supplement rainfall as required to maintain uniform moisture in the plant root zone.

Proper watering is especially crucial during the first year or two as the plants are working to establish themselves in the landscape and to overcome any transplant shock.

Summer watering...

If the weather is hot the soil will dry out quicker and you'll have to pay closer attention to watering, making sure not to over or under water newly planted plants. Keep in mind that wilting of leaves can be the effect of either dry soil or when root rot sets in from overly saturated soil.

Whenever watering newly planted plants during summer, keep in mind it's best to water deeply less often than to splash plants with a little water every day. This promotes deep root growth and can reduce water loss by evaporation.

So, first, water deeply at planting time, making sure the soil around the root ball is moist all the way down to the base of the root ball. Then, each day thereafter check the soil for moisture and only provide water if the soil has dried out somewhat or is just lightly damp. After several days of checking you should establish how many days you can wait between waterings. Now you'll have a watering schedule. If there's a good soaking rain you can count this as a watering.

Winter watering...

There won't be as much attention or need for watering newly planted shrubs and trees during the cooler winter months as there is during the summer months. When plants have stopped growing or lost their leaves during winter they'll be drinking little if any water. Too, the evaporation process slows down considerably during the cool season.

At planting time during the winter, soak deeply the ground around the root ball just as you would during summer. Then check the soil moisture every few days until you've determined how many days or weeks go by until the plant needs watering again. With average rainfall you may not need to water plants at all. If you have an automated irrigation system watering the plants in your landscape make sure to cut it off during the winter. Only provide water during the winter if there's been a prolonged period of dry weather.

If the weather has been dry and forecasters are calling for a deep freeze deep soak the ground with water around all of your shrubs. Doing so will help to insulate the roots of plants from the freezing temperatures.

Other helpful watering tips...

  • Consult with your local nursery and garden center professional or professional landscaper to determine how much water a specific type of plant requires and proper planting methods to ensure good drainage.
  • Hand-watering using a garden hose or drip soaking with a soaker hose are the best methods for watering newly planted plants until they are established, at which time automated irrigation systems will usually provide enough moisture.
  • When possible, provide water at the base of the plant, avoiding water on the leaves.
  • Mulching around your plants can reduce the frequency of watering.
  • Control weeds as these will rob water from your plants.
  • Never water outdoor plants or the lawn in the late evening or at night as doing so can cause fungus and diseases to develop. The early to mid-morning hours are the best time to water plants and lawn grasses. This allows moisture to dry from the leaves.
  • At planting time the first watering can be done with a solution of Root Stimulator, which has hormones and vitamins that will more quickly facilitate the "rooting in" process.
  • Avoid watering shrubs and trees with liquid or water-soluble fertilizers. Instead, fertilize with a well-balanced, shrub and tree type fertilizer.
  • When planting trees where they will be hard to get to to water consider using a product such as a Tree Gator to do the watering for you.
  • If you are planting "bog" or "moisture-loving" plants disregard the information provided in this article. These types of plants require constantly wet or soggy soils!

Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Good article. The TreeGator is a product I had not seen at any of our local nurseries. Great watering device for newly planted shrubs and trees. Thanks for the information.

6 years ago ·
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