Caring for New Trees

Posted February 3rd, 2010 by admin

004Watering Young or Newly Planted Trees

The most common stress any native tree may face is either too much or too little water. Native trees normally get the water they need in the winter and feed off of the stored sugars in the summer. The following watering schedule is a general guideline for young trees:

First month: Deep water twice a week inside the watering basin;

Second and third months: Deep water weekly;

Fourth through eighth months: Deep water every other week; and

Ninth through twelfth months: Once the tree is at least a year old, deep water every three to four weeks or every two weeks during hot summer months (this ensures that the tree will get water deep at the roots instead of just surface water).


  • Before planting, consider a tree’s shade tolerance and make sure the tree is able to adapt to the planting site.
  • In times of drought, water heavily twice a month, leaving time to dry out.
  • Try not to place plants inside the branch canopy (otherwise known as the ‘Drip Line’) of native trees as this could cause root rot with most native plants except swamp woods. If you have to plant in this area, keep it away from the base of the tree and use drought-tolerant plants.


Roots are a tree’s lifeline: anchoring against wind and absorbing water and vital elements from the soil.

In order to allow roots to expand easily and contribute more quickly to tree growth when planting, carefully remove the container without breaking the soil loose from the roots and dig a hole at least two times the width of the root ball but no deeper than its height. Two inches above grade is a well-documented height.

Remove any circling roots prior to planting so they do not strangle the trunk. To prevent damage from bugs or rot at the base of the tree where the root starts (root flare), plant trees two inches above grade. This helps to keep irrigation water from collecting around the lower trunk. Also, avoid compaction of the soil within the drip line of the tree as it can deprive roots of oxygen, moisture, and growing space.


  • Tree-staking should be done in a manner that allows the tree to still move. This makes them sturdy when the stakes are moved.
  • Remove tree stakes after one or two growing seasons and keep trees free of cables, chains, etc.
  • Always protect the tree from lawnmowers and weed-eaters.
  • A 1-inch layer of wood chips within the drip line of a tree (but not against the base) helps prevent compaction and is also a great fertilizer.