How to Water Newly Planted Trees and Shrubs

Date January 27, 2022


Author TreeNewal Staff

Planning on planting a new tree or shrub in your North Texas yard? Watering is essential for its survival. With so much information out there about when and how to water plants, it can be tricky to know what to do. In this post, we’ll clear up the confusion and teach you exactly how to water your new trees and shrubs properly!

How Long Does It Take A New Tree to Establish?

It’s generally agreed that freshly planted trees need approximately one year per inch of diameter of its trunk to reintegrate their roots in the new soil environment. So, say the trunk of your new tree has a 4 inch diameter – expect it will need about 4 or more years to reestablish its roots.

How to Water A Newly Planted Tree in Texas

Pour water over the freshly turned soil until the span of the hole you dug for the base is soaked enough to saturate the roots below. New trees should be routinely watered for the initial two or three growing seasons by slowly moistening the area via a gentle soaker hose. We at TreeNewal recommend following this watering schedule for new plants:

  • For the first 2 weeks after planting, water the plant daily.
  • For the next 3 to 12 weeks, water every 2 or 3 days.
  • From 12 weeks on, water approximately once a week until the roots have established.

Bear in mind, these intervals all depend on the condition of your soil and the amount of rainfall. This will all give your new trees their best chance of healthy, long-term success!

How Much Water Does a Newly Planted Tree Need?

A good plan of action is to promptly hose down your freshly planted tree with between 2 and 3 gallons of water for every inch of the diameter of its trunk. A trunk with a 3-inch diameter trunk, for example, calls for between 6 and 9 gallons of water straight off. Take notice of and keep in mind how wide the rootball was when planting it. This will help guide you in where to focus your watering.

How Do You DIY a Watering System for a Tree?

You can create your own watering system by taking a 4 to 5 gallon basin, creating a 1/2 inch hole at the outer bottom edge, and then positioning it at the drip line (the drip line is the area at the edge of the canopy’s span). Fill entirely to the rim with water and allow the water to slowly drain from the basin into your soil. When the basin has completely drained, place it on the opposite side of the tree and repeat these steps!

Can You Overwater a Newly Planted Tree?

Absolutely! With newly transplanted roots being so vulnerable, it is entirely possible to drown the roots, causing the tree to die. That’s why we strongly recommend you use a slow watering method like the DIY basin option or a drip hose.

How Can You Tell If a Newly Planted Tree Has Enough Water?

It’s so important to water an appropriate amount for your new tree’s needs. An easy test to check if your tree is sufficiently saturated is to use a screwdriver, a chopstick, or your finger (if you don’t mind getting your green thumbs a little dirty) to dig into the surrounding soil. Make sure you dig in about 2 to 3 inches deep. You know your moisture level is the right amount when you ball up and squeeze the soil in your hand and no water leaks out.

How Do You Know If You’re Over-Watering or Under-Watering?

If you see standing water above the ground around the tree trunk or water oozing out when the soil is squeezed in your hand, your plant is over-watered. But if the soil looks to be too light of a shade or crumbles when you squeeze a handful, odds are your plant is under-watered.

If you notice the plant’s leaves browning around their edges, this could be a sign of either. To tell the difference, a soft, limp leaf is likely over-watered while a light, brittle leaf is under-watered. Ideally, you want a leaf with qualities that fall somewhere in the middle!


If you need help with getting the best tree and shrub care, get in touch with the ISA-certified arborists at TreeNewal and enjoy tailored tree care advice.


To learn more about How to Water Newly Planted Trees and Shrubs, call our Argyle and Southlake-based teams

at tel:(817) 592-6846 or send us a message.

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