For newly planted trees
Transplanting is a major operation from which most of the trees recover slowly. A majority of the root system is lost in digging, and the tree must re-establish sufficient roots to sustain itself.
Proper watering is the KEY to survival of newly planted trees. The initial watering is most critical. Water for 5 hours to thoroughly saturate the root ball. After the initial watering, the tree should be watered every 7 to 14 days to supplement rainfall (depending upon the species). This should be done regardless of rainfall. Many homeowners fall into the trap of relying on rainfall. This should continue for 3 years after planting. Place a hose 1 foot from the trunk of the tree at a low enough setting to prevent runoff. Watering at a high setting will erode topsoil and expose and kill feeder roots. Move the hose 3 or 4 times around the tree to distribute water evenly. Pick a day of the week and devote that day to watering the tree(s).
Note: Infrequent, deep soakings are preferable to frequent, shallow watering’s as they are more effective in saturing the root ball. For this reason, avoid watering your trees with a sprinkler system. They are designed to water turf which needs frequent shallow watering. This is not adequate for the deeper root systems of trees. Many times constant exposure to water from irrigation heads lead to root suffocation and tree mortality, thus voiding the warranty.
It is very important to mulch around the tree with 3” of organic mulch. This will help reduce competition from weeds and grasses, conserve soil moisture and moderate soil temperature extremes. The mulch should not be placed directly against the trunk of the tree as that can cause rotting. Black plastic should NOT be placed under the mulch since it restricts water movement and oxygen available to the roots.
Since the root system of a newly planted tree is limited, fertilization is not recommended at the time of planting. Following the first growing season a Fall application of a low salt, slow release fertilizer is suggested. (Such as Jobe tree stakes) Contact your local garden center for recommendations. Trees should be inspected for insects and diseases periodically. PREVENTING PROBLEMS IS EASIER THAN CORRECTING THEM. Remember, a little common sense, care and maintenance will give your tree(s) a healthy start so they can give you many years of enjoyment.