The biggest stress, especially for recently planted trees, is water stress – too little or too much! Yes, we said too much! Regular watering, but not drowning, is the key to a young tree’s survival.
So your new tree has been delivered and planted. You want this tree to last, and you definitely don’t want to watch your cute young investment wither in the hot summer sun. Here’s what to do-- check the soil every few days under the mulch to establish whether or not you need to water the tree. If the soil underneath the mulch is soft and damp, the tree should be good for another day or two, but if it is hard and dry, your tree could use a drink! If the soil is wet, or if there is standing water on the surface, reduce watering. It’s really as simple as that!
It sounds obvious, but is often overlooked! Do a manual check of your soil to feel if your tree may be thirsty.
“But I do everything right!” you say to yourself, “I water my tree diligently every day, just the right amount!” But did you know that deep and less frequent watering is preferred to frequent and light watering? Make sure to water the entire root ball for a newly planted tree twice a week using three to four full watering cans, or, alternatively for fifteen minutes using a hose with no nozzle on a very, very slow trickle.
Dedicate two days a week to watering your new tree with 3-4 full watering cans.
If you truly are doing everything right but are still struggling to keep your young tree healthy, additional measures to help mitigate water stress can be taken. Try applying a three to four inch layer of mulch in a donut shape around your tree. Remember to keep it away from the trunk to avoid rot at the base of the tree.
With these tips you’ll be sure to provide your tree with some ‘Tree’-L-C.
Give your newly planted trees the best start with just the right amount of watering!
Lam Tran is the Planting Program Assistant at LEAF.
The Backyard Tree Planting Program is supported by the City of Toronto, the Regional Municipality of York, Toronto Hydro, the Town of Newmarket, the Town of Ajax, and the town of Oakville.