You’ve just planted some new trees to enhance your landscape. In order for them to reach their fullest and most beautiful potential, you’ll need to be very careful about how you water them.
The roots of your trees likely came in the form of a soil ball. Until the trees are able to establish regular roots in its new soil environment, it is critical to keep the ball moist. Generally, the safest and most effective approach for getting a new tree through the first year–and especially the first summer–is to irrigate regularly by dripping a known quantity of water slowly into the original root ball.
To keep a 24-inch root ball moist not saturated during drought conditions of the kind Texas is currently experiencing will require you to moisten that ball with two or three gallons of water every four to five days. The simplest way to meet these needs is to poke a few nail holes in the sides a five-gallon bucket near the bottom, set the bucket next to the trunk and fill it with water every few days.
The more sophisticated way to do it is to insert two or three one-gallon-per-hour drip emitters which are attached to a length of plastic tubing and with a special fitting, to your hose. This can be attached to an inexpensive, electronic, battery-operated timer programmed to turn the water off after one or two hours. Check with the nursery where you bought your trees to see if they sell drip irrigation kits that you can use or adapt for this purpose.
A good way to gauge whether or not you are giving your new trees the right amount of water is to probe the soil ball with a metal rod. If you are unable to push the rod easily more than a few inches into the ball, you’re not applying enough water. If the rod slides easily all the way through the ball, you’re more than likely overwatering your plants.
Call South Austin Irrigation at (512) 534-7449 to find out more about irrigation for you.