Watering

Fact#1 Deep water Saturation is Essential

Newly planted / transplanted trees trees, with their greatly reduced root systems and the shock from being removed, are in great need of frequently applied deep irrigation. Deep watering keeps moisture concentrations far below the surface, reducing transplant shock, and attracting roots downward deep into the soil.

Deep watering to a depth of at least 12 inches or more is recommended. Most of the root system of a tree is located within the top 2 to 4 feet of soil. WIth new trees, it is also recommended that water be applied directly over the root ball / root mass.

Experts suggest that the best way to efficiently ensure deep water penetration is to slowly and evenly apply a high volume of water in a single application. This means that light watering applications (i.e. via sprinklers, hose, etc.) will not provide adequate water saturation.

FACT#2 Trees need high volumes of water

While there is no standard watering amount that is suitable for all new trees, there are general watering guidelines that can be followed. One commonly used formula suggests 10 gallons of water per week for every 1" of tree caliper; For example: A single 2" caliper (trunk diameter) tree would require approximately 20 gallons of water per week. Watering a tree lightly, even on a regular basis is unsufficient. Most of the water applied will be lost due to runn-off and/or evaporation. And most importantly, light applications of water will force roots to the surface, leading to shallow rooting and poor root anchorage. Newly planted trees lose much of their root system during digging. Because of this, they are much less effective at taking up water, and thus require much more water than established trees.

FACT#3 Establishment can take several years

It can take several years for a transplanted tree to re-establish its root system. On average, a tree is said to require 1 year for every 1 inch of trunk caliper (diameter). This means that a 3 inch caliper tree can take up to 3 years to get established!
Transplanted trees lose much of their roots during digging, and thus experience an adjustment period called transplant shock.

What are the signs symptoms of transplant shock?

Symptoms vary, signs include shortened or poor annual growth, wilted leaves, increased seed production, reduced flowering, early fall color, and early leaf drop.

What can be done to curb the effects of transplant shock?

Proper and regular watering is essential, Supplemental watering (in additional to rainfall) is recommended for at least the first 2 years.