This guide will help you care for newly-planted trees and shrubs as well as existing trees and shrubs so that they not only survive, but thrive in your yard. Proper watering is key to helping plants survive the shock experienced from transplant. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

How Often and How Much

If your new plants were installed by Schendel, we will water after planting, so you do not need to water until the next day. During the first month after planting, trees and shrubs should be watered one to two times per week, unless it rains. Trees and large shrubs should receive approximately 10 gallons of water, while smaller shrubs need about five gallons. After the first month, a weekly soaking should be sufficient.

Tip: An easy way to estimate how long your hose takes to dispense five or ten gallons is to time how long it takes to fill a gallon milk jug, then multiply by five or ten.

It is common for the surrounding soil to accept water at a different rate than the root ball, so it is important to feel down into the soil or use a hand tool to make sure the root ball is truly saturated. The soil should be damp six inches down. This is also helpful if we’ve received some rain but you aren’t sure if it is enough to skip a watering.

As important as it is to keep new plants sufficiently watered, it is just as important to not overwater. Keeping the soil excessively wet can cause damage to the roots.

How the Soil Influences Absorption

The soil around the root ball influences the rate at which water is absorbed. A clay soil will have a longer absorption time, meaning new plants will need to be watered more often for shorter periods so that the water is absorbed and doesn’t run off. Landscapes with sandy or loamy soil will not have this absorption problem.

How and When to Water

It is best to water at the base of the plant to reduce wet leaves or wet canopy of the tree, which can lead to disease or leaf scorch. The best time to water is in the early morning so that the water can be easily absorbed by the plant before evaporation occurs.

Establishment of Plants

Continue watering until late fall, or when the leaves begin to shed. Plants may need two or three years of regular watering before full establishment, especially in times of little rainfall. During the second and third growing seasons after planting, trees and shrubs should be watered every 10-14 days if there is no rain and the soil moisture indicates a need. As the root system extends, water in a wider ring around the plants, soaking the soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches.

Mulching and Competition

The best way to hold moisture within the planting area is to apply mulch. This will help contain the moisture and prevent evaporation, and also keep the soil temperature consistent. Mulch should be two to four inches deep and not touch the trunk of the plant. If the mulch touches the trunk and remains wet for a continued period of time, it can lead to an infection on the plant.

The root system of a new tree often has to compete with turf-grass for water. Keeping a grass-free area around the tree that extends at least to the dripline of the branches will help eliminate this competition, as will mulch.

Winter Watering

Winter watering is very beneficial for plants when there is little to no moisture during the winter months. When air temperatures are above 45 degrees F it is safe to water plants.

Lifetime Plant Warranty Program

You’ve made a valuable investment in your property, so keep that investment looking its best with Schendel’s Lifetime Plant Warranty Program. We want your landscape to continue to thrive and look beautiful as much as you do. If Schendel continues to maintain your plants, they can be covered under a lifetime warranty. If you would like more information about this program, learn more here.

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