Protect your investment in newly planted trees and shrubs by watering correctly until they’re established. For shrubs, this takes about one year. For trees, two or more. Be diligent until then.
How you water is more important than how often you water. Opt for slow and deep. Your goal for both trees and shrubs is to keep the roots and soil moist but not drenched.
Efficiently Water Shrubs and Trees
- The best time to water is in the morning. Water only the ground directly beneath the leaves.
- Immediately after planting, water deeply by setting a hose or a sprinkler on the lowest setting under the plant until water penetrates 8 to 10 inches.
- Water again the following day to allow soil to settle and reduce large air pockets.
- Water slowly once a week for the first season, saturating 8 to 10 inches deep.
- Don’t overwater. The easiest way to check soil moisture is to stick an 8-inch screwdriver into the soil. If you can’t poke it in at least 6 inches, it’s time to water.
- If using an irrigation system, be sure the water reaches the roots. Drip hoses that surround the plants are more efficient than sprinklers.
Tip: Prior to planting, water well. The roots should be moist all the way through. Do this while the plant is still in the pot or burlap, or once it is in the ground, before the hole is filled with soil.
No time? Drill several holes into the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket. Place the bucket near the plant and fill with water. It will deliver water at a slow rate, penetrating the soil deeply.