Watering trees after planting

Tree Care: Watering your new tree

Although we may be in a drought, the importance of watering your tree properly will shape our urban forest for years to come. It is important to be diligent about regular watering, especially in the first year. Here are some tips.

Water your tree 5 gallons every 3 – 4 days, or a total of 10-15 gallons weekly. Because this is only a rule of thumb, it will need to be adjusted to your unique site. To do this, check the soil moisture a few inches below the soil surface of the rootball. If the soil is very dry or leaves look wilted you will need to water more frequently. It should feel moist, but not soggy. If there is any excess moisture, wait 1-2 days then check the soil moisture again before watering. Too much water is just as bad as not enough!

How to water

If possible, irrigate in the evening or early morning using low flow rate for a long duration within the water basin (a raised mound of dirt around the tree trunk, forming a circle 18′ in diameter around the tree) to ensure that the entire rootball is saturated. *Note: to determine the duration needed to water 5 gallons, you can time how long it takes to fill a 1 or 5 gallon bucket at a given flow rate.

General Information

• Turf sprinkler irrigation systems alone do not provide sufficient watering for young trees to survive; additional deep-watering is necessary to saturate the rootball in most cases.

• Ensure that the watering basin around the trunk of the tree holds water. If water drains out of the basin, the tree’s roots are not getting watered. Keep the soil inside the watering basin free of all vegetation – this includes grass!

• It may be necessary to make adjustments in the frequency and duration of watering depending on soil type, drainage, weather, and trees species.

• Water your tree IMMEDIATELY after planting…waiting even a few hours makes a difference with tree survival.

• Most established trees will benefit from periodic, but infrequent deep watering, particularly during the dry season. It may be necessary to make adjustments in the frequency and duration of watering depending on soil type, drainage, weather, and tree species.

• Use mulch or woodchips in the watering basin to conserve soil moisture.

4 Tips on Caring for Newly Planted Trees

Think back to the day you planted your Arbor Day beauty.

You did your research to find the perfect planting spot for the perfect tree.

Soon, you took to digging (but of course, not too deep), planted your new tree and filled in the hole with soil to keep it up straight. You didn’t stop there, though. You mulched around it and topped it off with plenty of water.

Since then, you’ve been admiring the beautiful tree that will offer benefits for years to come.

So, now what? Find all the tips you need for caring for newly planted trees below.

Any tips for watering a new tree?

Newly planted trees are under stress due to their new environment, so they’ll need extra love and care! Proper watering is essential to bringing moisture and oxygen to your trees’ roots.

During the first two weeks, deeply water young trees every day. Then, water a new tree once a week for the first year, while it still has its leaves. Be sure to take rainfall into account before watering, too.

Of course, during hot, dry periods, water more frequently.

How should I mulch my new tree?

Mulch is just what new trees need to retain moisture, control soil temperature and ward off weeds.

You want to avoid piling on too much mulch, though. Known as volcano mulching, this creates a cool, damp environment, which can attract fungi, pests and diseases. All of these factors stress out your new tree.

Instead, mulch your trees the right way! Begin by choosing the best mulch for trees… organic mulch.

Then, apply 2 to 4 inches of mulch around the tree’s drip zone, which is as far as the tree’s leaves grow out. Use a rake to pull mulch 1 to 2 inches from the tree trunk to provide proper air circulation.

What do I need to know about pruning new trees?

It’s important to trim away minor branch defects at the time of planting, but hold off on pruning young trees for at least a year.

Significantly trimming trees in the middle of the growing season can limit their growth potential next year.

When should I be fertilizing newly planted trees?

At Davey, our experts use Arbor Green PRO® and Arbor Green Xtra plus B (depending on the region) to keep trees nourished each year. The fertilizers are designed to slowly release nutrients uniformly over time, regardless of when they’re applied. Our goal is to always make sure your tree has enough nutrients to keep on growing.


Many homeowners assume rain will provide enough water for trees. But your watering will make a huge difference in the health and survival of trees when they’re young or when the weather is dry.

Young trees should be watered regularly; every couple of weeks, and more often in dry weather, for at least two years after they are planted. In times of drought, when it hasn’t rained for a month or more, even large, mature trees will need watering.

The best way to water trees is slowly for a long time, so the roots have time to absorb the moisture from the soil as it soaks down. The roots that absorb the water aren’t deep. They spread out sideways and most are just a foot or so beneath the surface of the soil. On a mature tree, roots extend far in all directions, but it’s sufficient to concentrate on watering the area beneath the branches.

Newly planted trees and young trees haven’t yet grown a large network of roots. That’s why they can’t store much water and need to be watered often. They should be watered near the trunk, where the root ball is.

You can water several ways:

  • Hose
  • Soaker hose
  • Sprinkler
  • Bucket

Hose: One option is to turn the hose to a slow dribble and place it on the ground near the trunk. After half an hour, move it a couple of feet around the trunk. Keep moving the hose from place to place until it has dribbled for an hour, or even two hours for a large tree.

The larger the tree, the more time it will take to give it enough water, and the more you will have to move the hose to get the water to a wide area of the roots.

Soaker hose: Another option is to use a porous soaker hose, which will allow water to slowly ooze out of its entire length. Lay the hose on the soil around the tree. Turn the water on just enough so you see beads of water on the surface of the hose. Let it go for an hour or more.

Sprinkler: You can use a sprinkler, but turn it down so the water doesn’t splash on the leaves. The tree needs the water in the soil, where its roots are.

Bucket: If a tree is too far from the hose, you can use a bucket. Pour the water slowly on the area all around the trunk. For a young tree, try to deliver at least 10 gallons every time you water.

Mulch will help hold the moisture in the soil. Spread it in an even layer about 3 to 4 inches deep as widely as possible around the trunk.

Healthy trees will live for decades or centuries but many need a little help from you along the way to make sure they thrive.

A newly planted tree needs extra care and attention. If something is wrong, however, it is important to know what the problem is in order to address it quickly and avoid further damage to the new plant.

The following are some of the more common problems many new trees face and the corresponding signs of these preventable and fixable issues. If the problem is not easily identified, calling up a tree service in Portland is the best way to ensure that the new addition to your yard survives.

Not Enough Water

A younger tree generally requires more frequent watering than a mature tree because its root system isn’t established and so it uses more energy. In the first couple years of the tree’s life, it isn’t uncommon to water twice a week.

Since roots grow deep, trees prefer a deep watering less often versus watering frequently and only wetting the surface of the soil. That is why drip systems are the preferred method in the industry because, unlike a hose, it allows water to slowly trickle down into the soil and reach deep into the roots.

To determine if the plant needs more water, dig in the soil with a screwdriver to feel how moist the earth is. If it’s dry, then it’s time to water; if it feels damp, hold off on watering for a couple of days.

Another factor when determining how much water a tree may need is the climate where it is going to be planted. Those who live in an arid climate should consider planting trees with drought tolerance because the tree is more likely to succeed and it will require less maintenance.

Additionally, mulch is a tree’s best friend; it helps retain moisture and prevents invasive plants from taking over.

Too Much Water

Overwatering a tree is just as damaging as not watering it at all. Since symptoms of overwatering can be easily confused for a lack of watering, it is important to know the difference.

If the tree shows signs of yellow leaves on the lower branches or at the inside of the canopy, or brittle green leaves, it may be a sign of overwatering, which can also lead to root rot or fungus.

While a newly planted tree needs to get the correct amount of watering, mature trees are best left to nature. After the first two years, a tree will be able to withstand a wider range of water conditions on its own because it has a proper root structure.

If the health of a tree is in question it’s always a great idea to consult with a tree service in Portland that can provide more information about the tree’s health.

Tree Stress

The symptoms of stress often develop slowly, more slowly than insect or disease symptoms. Some things to look for include: the appearance of abnormally small leaves, pale green coloration of leaves, unusually slow growth, premature development of fall leaf coloration, early leaf drop, dieback of twigs and branches, wilting of leaves and tender new growth, peeling bark, and presence of fungi protruding from stems and branches. The repeated occurrence of these symptoms over a period of years is a good indicator that a tree is subject to some chronic stress influences.

Perhaps nothing is more important at preventing stress than proper tree planting. Research has shown that a tree planted at the correct depth, in a hole of sufficient size to accommodate the tree’s expanding root system, has a much greater chance of survival than an improperly planted one.

Here are some rules to follow when planting trees:

• Place trees away from high foot traffic areas
• Evaluate the planting site with respect to drainage
• Have soil tested prior to planting
• Select a tree with growth requirements that closely match the environment of the site
• Dig the planting hole to a depth equal to the height of the root ball

Keep the Bugs Away

Most trees are able to withstand a certain amount of insect infestation. It is when pest populations build to very high levels that problems occur. Unfortunately, pests are not usually noticed until they are in abundance. Therefore, a program of regular and methodical inspection of trees should be implemented, especially during the spring.

Tree inspection should include an examination of bark, stems, and leaves for any signs of pests or abnormal appearance of the plant’s structure.

There are many options for controlling insect pests on trees, including many measures that do not rely on the application of chemical pesticides. When dealing with small trees, pest control materials may be applied by the homeowner.

A local garden supply dealer may be consulted regarding the appropriate materials to use. With large trees, specialized equipment will be needed to make applications of control materials. In such cases, it may be practical to hire an arborist who is licensed and certified to apply pesticides.

Proper Fertilization

Fertilizer application to trees should only be made if tree leaves are showing symptoms of nutrient deficiency, such as abnormally pale leaf color or abnormally small leaves. Other symptoms of nutrient deficiency include shorter than normal annual twig growth and tip dieback of branches.

Be aware that these same symptoms may be the result of stress factors other than a lack of nutrients. Always evaluate the tree and nearby area for other possible explanations of decline.

If fertilizer is to be applied, use one with an N-P-K ratio of 3-1-2 or 4-1-2. Fertilizer with an analysis such as 24-8-16, 12-4-4, 18-6-12, or similar formulas would be a good choice. Products designed for application to lawns are satisfactory, but avoid those containing weed killers. Fertilizers containing a high proportion of the nitrogen in a slow-release or water-insoluble form should be used.

With so many factors standing in the way of the survival of a newly planted tree, it is important to know the variety of factors that can affect its growth. If, after looking for the aforementioned signs that the new tree is in need of attention, it is still unclear what steps should be taken, consulting a tree service in Portland will likely provide the insight needed to help the tree survive.

Try These 4 Tips if Your New Tree’s Leaves Are Turning Brown or Wilting

If you have recently planted a tree, you know that it will likely go through some sort of “ugly” period – a time when the tree doesn’t look its best because it has just gone through something truly traumatic. While this is fairly normal, there are some things that you have to be on the lookout for once your tree has been established. The biggest things you need to look at to tell the health of the tree are the color of the leaves and how healthy they appear. If the leaves are turning brown or they are wilting, it is a sign that something may be wrong with your new tree.

Don’t be alarmed – this doesn’t mean that your tree isn’t healthy or that it won’t make it. Instead, it could just be a sign that something isn’t going quite right to make your tree happy in its new home. Acting quickly and with the appropriate response should have your tree looking as good as new.

If you notice that your newly planted tree is wilting and/or turning brown, here are some tips to make it better:

4. It Could Be Transplant Shock

  • “Wait and see” approach
  • Do not over or under water the tree
  • Check daily for any other signs of distress

If your tree is freshly planted, this is just a sign of transplant shock. This is a normal occurrence because your tree has just gone through something quite stressful. The best thing you can do during this time is to just wait it out, according to Thought Co. The more you play around with the tree or poke at it, the deeper in shock it can go.

Instead, follow all of the care methodology steps and let your tree have some time to adjust. Just like a freshman in college or someone learning how to drive, eventually the tree will settle down and everything will feel normal.

However, transplant shock really shouldn’t last all that long. Each tree will have a different time, but it should look better as the weeks go by – if it doesn’t, call a professional.

3. Stop Watering So Much

  • Do not saturate the ground
  • Take rainfall into account
  • Back off if you notice situation getting worse

Many people water their trees thinking that there is no such thing as overwatering, but they’d be wrong. Especially when you have a new tree, putting too much water into the ground can almost waterlog the tree and cause it to stop getting the nutrients it needs.

Den Garden explains: “The roots wick up the water to the plant body. The plant cells fill up, one by one, and attempt to pass the liquid on to the next cell by osmosis. This system works wonderfully until the moisture reaches the cells located at the end of the line. These cells have no place to pass excessive moisture on to, so they continue to fill until they burst, creating crusty brown tips on the edges of the leaves.”

Examine your leaves to see if this could possibly be the problem with your tree. If it is, step away from watering for a few weeks and see if you see a change in the leaves.

2. Check Your Soil

  • Ensure soil is healthy enough to grow trees
  • Acidity levels are important
  • Fertilizer MAY help

As your tree is moved, it can go through a different adjustment period. One of the reasons your tree doesn’t adjust well is because it isn’t used to the soil in you have planted it. Soil conditions have been known to make transplant shock worse.

If the soil around a tree is too soggy, it won’t be able to get oxygen to the roots, according to Teleflora. The roots either don’t grow at all or they aren’t allowed to grow strong enough to really support your tree in its new home. Eventually, the root systems will start to fail. Even worse, it can lead to another problem called leaf scorch.

Other problems with the soil include too much heat, over tilling, over watering, and bad fertilizer.

1. It May Have a Disease

  • Look for common symptoms of problems
  • Make sure to buy from reputable sources
  • Make sure your yard is safe before planting

When you buy a new tree, even if it is from a reputable source, there is a chance that you are going to introduce a new disease or pest into your yard. No nursery or tree center is perfect and sometimes the trees do get sick. If your tree is having problems with browning leaves or wilting, it might just be that you picked a bum tree.

Make sure to give your tree some time to establish itself, but always be on the lookout for other signs of problems. If you brought an infestation into your yard, it won’t be long before it spreads to other trees. The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control has some great tips on how to prevent diseases from spreading.

In some cases, getting the opinion of a professional may help you to determine whether your tree is struggling because of something in your yard or because it was sick when you purchased it. Most reputable nurseries do have a warranty on their products.

At Econo Tree Service, our goal is to help people put more trees into their yard AND to keep those trees as healthy as can be. We work to ensure that your trees have a great transition process so that they can grow tall and strong. If you have any questions about selecting, planting, or taking care of a new tree for your yard, give us a call today.

Our team is prepared to handle any stage of the tree growing process, from the very first days to the very last. No matter what you need or what questions you have, we are here to answer them.

Give us a call today at (650) 200-2495.

Header photo courtesy of Davide Restivo on Flickr!

Tips to Recover Newly Planted Evergreens from Transplant Shock on December 14, 2017 in Tree Care Advice, Tree Service

Reasons like extreme temperature variations at short intervals, especially during winter month can make evergreen trees look dull & yellow. There are several other reasons like, herbicides, salt, cold water, animals; pollution, etc that can ruin the health of an evergreen tree, making the needles (leaves) go yellow or brown.
Today, we are here to focus on a different aspect of evergreen trees turning yellow & dull. We are here to help you understand why newly planted evergreen tree needles (leaves) changes color and eventually deteriorate in health factor. We would also share a few tips, on how this can be prevented & trees could get back to being green and healthy again.

So let’s get started –
When homeowners plant an evergreen tree, they imagine getting the sight of a snow covered landscape, while most of the plants in the garden are fast asleep. But when the newly planted evergreens begin to discolor at an early age, it is a strong sign that the tree needs help. To learn how to deal & get control over such situations, we suggest you keep reading.

As a tree service company in Charlotte, NC we have received a few questions about newly planted evergreen trees. Answers to these questions will give a clear idea why this happens & also a few tips to fix the problem.

Q1. Why is the newly planted evergreen tree in my garden turning yellow & dull and brown?

Ans: On a realistic note, newly planted trees have a lot to deal with, when it comes to adjusting to a new homeland. Even when best care is offered, these newly planted trees tend to be stressed.
The stress is nothing but the transplant shock. When these trees are planted from one location to the other, roots of these trees struggle to get accustomed to the new environment. Such transplant shock effects cause the trees to turn yellow & brown and is one of the easiest to spot.

Q2. What are other reasons that turn a newly planted evergreen brown?

Ans: Transplant shock can have ill effects on the entire tree. In case you notice a few parts turning yellow, it can be normal.
Sometimes, inner branches of the evergreen turn yellow, while the outer ones bloom & stay green, this is a normal and healthy sign.

Q3. If my newly planted evergreen turns yellow, does it mean that it is dying?

Answer: It is important for us to understand that trees suffer from a transplant shock, but are alive. Doing the right tree care routine can help them regain health & beauty.
We would like to seal this article with a few tips that can help your newly planted evergreen sustain the transplant shock & bloom again.

• Make sure to separately water your evergreen. It needs about 1inch water every week, at least for a year or two
• In the beginning, only opt to cut branches that are dead or damaged
• Mulching is another important technique to lock moisture in the soil. Remember the mulch should be about two inches deep & nearly 5 inches away from the tree trunk

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