How to Water New Trees and Plants

The most common way to water new trees and plants is by letting a garden hose trickle at the base of the plant, soaking the root ball.  Also, you can use stationary sprinklers on low pressure and soaker hoses. If this is your preference, check to make sure enough water is applied to soak the root ball and surrounding soil.

Day 1

Once finished planting your new plants, water them thoroughly to ensure moisture in the immediate root ball and soil. Water thoroughly and deeply. Smaller plants may take 15-30 minutes and larger up 6o minutes. Soak it!

Day 2

The next day water new plants again. Give the plant plenty of water!

Day 3 & Beyond

After the first 3 weeks of maintaining soil moisture, back off to watering deeply after allowing several days for the soils to dry a bit and then watering deeply again.  Pay attention to how long it takes your soils to dry out between watering. Follow-up watering will depend on the plant, size,  season, soil type, and if it was a container-grown plant.

The keys to watering container-grown plants

  • The growing medium in container-grown plants is different and dries out quicker.
  • First, you want to soak the root ball. Then, the  surrounding soils
  • For the first 3 weeks, keep the rootball evenly moist. It may require watering every 3-4 days.
  • After 3 weeks, be sure to allow time for it to dry out and breathe in between waterings. Typically, this would require watering around every 7 days for the first full season for larger root balls. Smaller root balls would require slightly less time in between waterings.
  • If the soil is not drying out and remains wet, back off the watering to allow more dry time.

Important Watering Tips!

  • Always check each time before you water.
  • If your leaves are wilting, your plant may be too wet or too dry.
  • Physically and visually check to make sure water is needed by pulling the mulch aside to look at the soil and feel to check the moisture levels of both the root ball and soil.
  • Smaller root balls and container-grown plants require more frequent watering.
  • Physically and visually check to make sure water is needed by pulling the mulch aside to look at the soil and feel to check the moisture levels of both the root ball and soil.
  • Do not overwater your plants. You will not over water with a one-time soaking. You overwater when you water too often, and the soils stay consistently wet causing the roots not to breathe and root-rot sets in.

Why are your plants getting too dry?

  • Don’t ever assume showers and thunderstorms have thoroughly watered your plants. It helps to use a rain gauge.
  • It takes several years for plants to become established. During droughts and dry spells, you will need additional watering.
  • If your plant is growing next to or under a large tree, it will dry out quicker based on competition for soil moisture.
  • In the summer, annuals, hanging baskets, potted plants, and groundcover may require daily or every other day watering. A solution is to use water grabbing polymers like Soil Moist, a product that is added to the soil to reduce watering needs.

Cincinnati Gardening Made Simple! Have a watering question? We grow one million plants each year. Ask the experts,  at questions@natorp.com.