Have you ever uprooted and transplanted yourself to a different city? A different state? No matter how far you move the first few weeks or even months in a new place can be a bit disorienting. Shrubs and trees experience a similar transplant shock when planted in a new home and require help to adjust to their new location.
Watering Newly Planted or Transplanted Trees
Newly planted trees require approximately 4-5 gallons of water once or twice a week during Spring, Summer, and Fall (unless the weather does it for you!) for the first 12 months. If your area experiences a dry winter within the first year of planting, you’ll need to water occasionally throughout the winter too.
One of the best ways to water a newly planted tree is to slowly pour the water to soak down into the tree roots, or let water drip from a hose over time. The goal is to have water penetrate down into the soil where it will be available for uptake as the tree needs it.
After the first year, tree roots tend to be well established and able to support healthy growth on their own. However, it may still need to be watered during particularly dry periods.
Watering Newly Planted or Transplanted Shrubs
Like trees, newly planted shrubs need both time and care to develop healthy root systems that are capable of supporting
the plant. Ideally, a newly planted shrub should receive about an inch of water each week.
For best results, give the soil around the new shrub a good soaking to encourage the water to penetrate deeply into the ground. Use your fingers or a screwdriver to dig down into the soil a bit to determine if the plant has been watered enough (2-6 inches is recommended, depending on the size of the plant).
Once established, your shrub should need no more than an inch of slow rain every 2-3 weeks. During dry periods, use a sprinkler to keep plants from becoming unduly stressed out.
Two Common Watering Mistakes
How you water your landscape plants can impact their health and growth in the long term. Here are the 2 most common (but easily avoided) mistakes homeowners make:
- Frequent, Shallow Watering – Watering shallowly (not penetrating deeper than the top 1-2 inches of soil) encourages plant roots to grow along the surface of the soil, leaving them more vulnerable to droughts, temperature changes, and damage from foot traffic. By watering ‘deeply’ plants are encouraged to spread their roots deeper into the soil, anchoring them firmly in place and insulating their roots from environmental changes.
- Overwatering – Soil that’s saturated for prolonged periods can be harmful to plants not adapted to handle it, smothering the roots and increasing the risk of root rot. For this reason, sprinkler systems left on during rainy periods can be a big problem. We recommend checking the soil for moisture before you water.
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