Newly planted trees and shrubs need regular watering to help them establish their roots. Many homeowners underestimate how long it can take for trees to establish roots. The length of time varies, but it’s safe to assume that it will take over a year for a young tree 1” in diameter to establish it’s roots. So in that first year of care (and the first few months in particular) it’s critical to make sure your trees receive the proper amounts of water.
Once your new tree is in the ground, you’ll need to water it twice a week if we haven’t received an inch of rain. After several weeks, you can back down to deep waterings once a week.
It is good practice to water deeper and allow time to dry between watering to encourage deeper, healthier root systems.
Once those first few weeks have passed, it is good practice to water deeper and allow time to dry between watering to encourage deeper, healthier root systems. However, never allow the soil around your new trees or plants to become bone dry. Frequent and shallow watering will likely keep your tree alive, but it doesn’t encourage the tree to send roots deeper in the ground in search for water.
In the beginning, you’ll need to supply water to the root ball. In general, 1” of moisture is a good rule of thumb for most plants and trees. The best way to determine if there is adequate moisture is to probe the soil.
Other Things to Consider
- Until your tree becomes established, you will need to actively monitor soil moisture around your tree. It’s not advisable to blindly follow a strict watering schedule, such as watering on Mondays and Thursdays, because of environmental variables such as rainfall and soil drainage.
- Newly planted trees are susceptible to winter drought. In the fall, monitor that the tree is receiving an inch of rain a week. If needed, water your tree weekly until the ground is frozen.
- If the leaves look wilted or scorched, and you have been regularly watering your tree, you should check if there is actually too much water around the roots. You can probe the soil to get a moisture reading, or carefully dig down about 6 inches to feel if the soil beneath the surface is too wet.