Question of the Week
browse by: questions
In its first season, your woody shrub or tree is just establishing its root system. Their minimal roots from the pot are still very confined. So, this first summer, we need to keep a vigilant eye on them and that mainly means keeping them properly watered.
What I like to do is build a berm of soil or mulch around the new plant. Generally I make a circle about 3' out from the plant, and about 4” high. Then I put in the water hose and slowly let it fill up. This allows the water to seep in and really reach the roots.
When you just use a hose on the surface it tends to run off. You might even see it puddling and think you're wetting the soil. But, dig down about an inch and most of the time, you'll find it's still dry.
You can also buy special devices like the TreeGator that wrap around the tree and slowly disperse the water.
I can also do the same thing with a bucket. I get an old 5-gallon bucket or similar container and drill a very small hole on the bottom. I set it down near the plant, stick in a brick or rock to keep the wind from getting it later, and fill it up with water. It will slowly irrigate your new plant.
I've seen people use pop bottles, too. Gardeners are very creative! The main thing to remember is that you need to give your new woody plants a good soaking at least once a week, maybe twice a week, to help it through its first critical summer.