Newly planted trees require regular watering. Construct a basin around the tree, slightly larger than the root ball. Fill the basin once or twice a week during hot weather, less often if it is cool or it rains. After six weeks or so, roots will have grown into the soil surrounding the planting hole, and the tree will require less frequent watering.

Since soils and environmental conditions vary, periodically check the soil to see that it is not too wet or too dry and that you are watering deeply enough. Be sure to water the entire root area and slightly beyond. Roots won’t grow in dry soil. However, don’t over-water; roots can rot in soil that is too wet. Remove the basin in the water so the tree doesn’t stand in water.

To conserve water and control weeds, apply four-to six-inch deep organic mulch around the tree. Don’t use plastic mulches. They may hold in too much moisture and inhibit oxygen exchange, leading to root and trunk rot. Sometimes plastic mulches may not allow enough water to reach the roots, stressing the tree for moisture. To avoid crown rot, keep the mulch away from the trunk.

When planting trees the in lawn, keep the grass 24” from the trunk for the first three years. Competition from turf grass stunts tree growth, and even additional fertilizer and water will not overcome this effect. A bare area around the trunk also helps prevent injury to the tree from a mower or string trimmer. Trunk wounds to a young tree can have a severe dwarfing effect.