Caring For Your New Tree
Congratulations on purchasing your new tree. Planting a new tree plants a legacy and it’s hopeful that it will be enjoyed for decades to come. For that to happen it is going to have to establish roots in its new home and you are going to have to help it.
Container grown trees face a real challenge when they are initially planted into soil, because the native soil is usually very different from the container soil. Moisture will be quickly absorbed by the constricted root ball causing the tree to dry out faster than what would normally happen. In the early stages, your role is to gradually train the roots to expand and spread out in the native soil while at the same time making sure the container soil doesn’t get too dry.
Start by watering often at the base of the tree, then slowly taper off and increase the volume of your watering. Water when the top 3” of the original root ball soil is fairly dry. Stop watering when the soil is moist.
Fall is generally the better time to plant because the temperatures are milder and the soil stays wet longer If you have warm days or dry winds, you may need to water more often in the beginning. These are small amounts of water that are given directly to the container root ball. You will need to test for moisture in the native soil separately from the container soil to avoid creating a swampy area.
After a couple of weeks, the tree should start to spread its roots into the native soil. Keep watering the root ball as needed, but every couple of days, soak the area that falls just beyond the ball. This is designed to invite the roots outward.
By the time two months have gone by you can start to taper off your watering to two times a week. You will no longer have to worry about the original root ball as much, although you still need to be aware when it becomes extremely dry and give it a taste of water if need be. By now you need to be watering a wider area around the tree but you don’t need to get the water any deeper 18 inches or so. If your tree survives this long, it has a good chance of making it.