Plant a Tree – Watering Your New Tree

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 23,343
    Professional Horticulturist Mitch Baker from the American Plant Food Company demonstrates how to water your freshly planted tree or shrub. Water is key to getting this tree off to a good start and keeping it going.

    Mitch Baker

    Mitch Baker is the Horticultural Specialist at the American Plant Food Co. Garden Center and Nursery, in Bethesda, MD, focusing on natural gardening products and organic gardening. Mitch is a MD Certified Professional Horticulturist, with 31 years of experience in the garden center industry. He has studied at numerous horticultural institutions from New York to Oregon, and also serves on the board of the Rachel Carson Council.

    Hi, I am Mitch Baker with American Plant Food Company. We now have our tree planted properly, we have mulch around the base of the tree, but we need to follow-up now with some water. Water is key to getting this tree off to a good start and keeping it going. So, basically a newly planted tree like this, even established trees, need about an inch of water a week. Now, you can use a rain gauge to determine how much an inch is in your garden, but you basically want to apply a good volume of water around the base of the tree so that you can see it soaking into the root zone. You know its not running off, you know its going right into the root zone. This initial watering is going to help to settle the soil, help to get the air pockets out, help to dissolve the granular biostimulant that we used earlier. So, this is a critical watering, got to be done right at the time of planting. Look how much water is being taken up in this new planting area. I am using a water breaker, which is a water wand, it helps create a soft flow of water at high volume. So, were not washing away any mulch, were getting an adequate amount of water right into the root zone. We can see it soaking in. We know its doing its job. Soaker hoses, sprinklers, watering wands, all of these things would be available at any garden center, garden store or a hardware store. Now, for a newly planted tree like this, you might want to do that twice a week. Once its established after the first year, once a week is sufficient. If were getting good rainfall, an inch of rain, then you can wait a week or so to water again, but it all depends on soil content, air temperature, amount of sun, how young or how old the tree is. Use one inch a week as a guideline. When you water make sure you are getting water right to the root zone. If you want to use a sprinkler, that's fine, but make sure youre getting water right to the tree. I like to hand water with something like a water wand, that way I can see the water soaking into the root zone. I know its getting water. I know its not running off or being wasted. Its best to water in the morning when temperatures are cool, that way theres less evaporation. It also means the water is there when the plant needs it. As the sun reaches its highest point in the sky, the demand for water is greatest, so applying that water in the morning means its there midday when the plant needs it. Thats important, we dont want to waste water.