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Buying and planting a tree on your property is a lifetime investment

A lot of planning went into determining the best tree species for your landscape and where it should live in the yard. From here, it’s all about follow-up care and providing the water and nutrients the tree needs to survive.

Here’s how to get started:

When to water? Check the soil moisture two to four inches deep within the original root ball. Dry or slightly damp soil means it needs water. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy.

How much water? Consider the soil, how much grass is around your tree, and the weather conditions. From June through early fall, trees require one inch of rainfall a week. Trees planted in well-drained, sandy soils will require water more often than a loam or clay soil.

Where to water? The majority of a new tree’s roots are still within the original root ball for the first several months, so the root ball and the soil surrounding it must be evenly watered. After a few months, expand the watering zone to cover the entire area, even beyond the drip line.

What’s a drip line? A drip line is an imaginary circle on the ground around the edge of the tree’s leaf canopy and helps determine the approximate size of the root zone of your tree.

The best way to water a newly planted tree? Place a garden hose at the base and allow water to slowly flow for one or two hours or until the soil is thoroughly moist. Move the hose to different spots around the base a few times throughout the watering. Build a soil berm or saucer to help hold or direct the water around the root system, but only temporarily. Remove it after one year.

A recommended routine watering plan for new trees should continue three years after planting, especially during dry summer months, however, the first year is the most critical. Contact American Tree Experts for more information.

“Tree planting” flickr photo by alexindigo shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license