For the first 18 months trees must receive water in addition to the water that is supplied to them via the lawn sprinkler system (if present). On the day that the trees are planted the delivery crew will have completed the 1st watering. When customers should apply water again depends upon the time of year in which the trees are planted because the watering frequencies change throughout the year. During January, February, March, November and December we recommend watering once per week and as we get into spring or fall (April, May and October) our frequencies will increase to a 3 day watering rotation. During the summer months of June, July, August and September we recommend going to an every other day watering frequency. Everything that we do regarding the watering program is customized based upon the soil samples that are collected and ultimately the gallons that you apply per watering will be between 2-40 and we just need to figure out what that exact number is. Whenever customers water their tree for the first time we recommend starting with 25 gallons of water and then we can start to deviate from that once the soil samples are collected and see how the soil is draining. This applies to all the various types and sizes of trees that we sell.
After customers water their tree(s) for the first time we recommend that all customers complete soil moisture tests which are critical to avoid over or under watering trees when the soil doesn’t drain as expected. The goal of the soil moisture test is to adjust the number of gallons that are being applied so that the soil has the texture of Play-Doh (soft, moist, pliable and cool to the touch) every 48 hours after the trees are watered and this rule should be followed all year long. This test gives us the most useful information regarding the proper watering of your tree. To complete the soil moisture test, a 4” perforated drain pipe will be installed with each tree which runs vertically along the edge of the rootball from the ground level all the way to base of the rootball.
Having the pipe installed will allow us to have easy access to the bottom of the rootball and we can quickly identify whether the tree is being over or under watered. The easiest way to check the soil moisture level is to put a stick down to the bottom of the drainage pipe, which you can purchase at Home Depot. If the ground is hard and there is no dirt that adheres to the stick then the sample is too dry and the gallons should be increased. If the soil adheres to the stick and it has a soft and pliable texture then that indicates that the correct number of gallons are being applied each watering. If there is water on the stick or the soil feels muddy then we know that too many gallons are being applied per watering the soil needs more time to drain before obtaining a playdoh like texture. Also, if there is any excess water at the bottom of the rootball the pipe allows us an easy way to drain the water using either a shop vac, hand pump or siphon.
If there are multiple trees planted, we recommend that a soil moisture test be completed on each tree as the soil moisture can vary from tree to tree even if they are only planted a couple feet apart. There have been many instances of multiple trees being planted near one another and the soil moisture test indicates that the watering frequency must be altered for individual trees within that group. The most important part about completing the soil moisture tests is that we know precisely how many gallons are being applied on the trees each watering (consistency is key). If we water the trees with a variable number of gallons each watering then we will not know what adjustments need to be made as the soil samples are collected. Watering schedules can normally be customized over the span of 2 to 3 weeks after multiple soil samples have been taken.