NDSU Extension - Williams County


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Newly Planted Trees - July 27, 2016

County Agent Update

Danielle Steinhoff


Newly Planted Trees


When being a homeowners, you take pride in your yard. When planting new trees, sometimes it can be a challenge to have them look healthy the first few weeks. Newly planted trees do need special attention, they are likely suffering from shock. When a tree is dug for transplant, it can lose, shockingly, up to 95% of its root system. Large trees will take a bit longer to bounce back and smaller young trees recover quicker. Tree size is measured by its caliper. For you trees (less than 4 inches in trunk diameter) , a trees caliper is its trunk diameter at six inches above the ground. There is a rule of thumb that for every inch of caliper, it undergoes shock for 1 to 1/5 years. For example, a tree with a 2-inch caliper will take 2 to 3 years to recover from shock.  When transplanting anything, we always wonder how much should I be watering? Well for trees, the first two weeks, a new tree can be watered everyday if the soil is dry. For the first growing season, it can be watered every 2-3 days when needed. In the future, threes should be monitored weekly until it’s overcome its shock. So now we know the timing of when to water, but how much? This can drastically vary, depending on the type of soil, weather patterns and even the tree itself, some tree species like it moister than others. One rule of thumb is a tree requires 10 gallons of water per week for every inch of caliper. If you water about 3 times a week, then a tree would get 3.3 gallons per inch of its caliper during irrigation. Another rule is to irrigate 5 gallons per week for every square yard of mulch beneath the tree. These are only guidelines, before you irrigate a tree, check to see if the soil is moist. Checking the soil with a shovel or metal rod at 8 inches below the surface is needed. Water is only necessary when the soil is dry, we want to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Overwatering a tree, young or old, can be just as harmful, Tree roots need air, when you overwater you fill the air pockets with water, effectively drowning the roots. The roots will rot and the tree will turn yellow and wilt. A slow watering is best to make sure the water goes to the tree roots and does not run off. You can water with a soaker hose, garden hose, perforated pails, Gatorbag or drip irrigation. Once trees are established they generally do not require watering unless there is a drought. This information is gathered from the July 13th NDSU Yard and Garden Report.


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