Skip to main content

The Key to Helping New Trees and Shrubs Get Established

To keep your trees and shrubs thriving, watering before and after planting is an essential task.

plants at nursery

Before planting: Until you plant your trees and shrubs into the ground, they need to continue to be watered in order to keep them from drying out in their containers. If you bought your plants from a nursery, simply keep watering the plants the same amount as the nursery had provided before the purchase. If you do not know how much your trees and plants need to be watered in containers, a good rule of thumb is to check the top inch of soil in your containers for moisture; if it feels dry, water your plants. You can also go by how hot your climate is and water accordingly. For example, if you live in a colder climate, watering every other day should be okay; if warmer climate, water everyday and if a hot climate, you should water your plants twice a day. The key is to remember that containers dry out more quickly than the ground, so those plants will need more frequent watering than your garden.

After planting: Once you have transferred your trees and shrubs into the ground, the amount of water received could mean life or death to your newly grounded plants. Soil conditions can drastically impact the water your plants receive: well-drained soils could result in too little, while overly moist soils result in too much water. Know your soil type, and try to water accordingly (also take into consideration the amount of light your trees and shrubs are exposed to). If you are using well-drained soil, especially for the first month you may need to water your trees and shrubs daily. In poorly drained soils, check the moisture before watering. As mentioned earlier, a great way to monitor your water is by checking the dryness of the soil and/or adjusting by climate. You can also take a fistful of dug up soil and squeeze it in your hand. If water drips out, you are watering too much, if the soil crumbles you are watering too little and if the soil stays together with no excess water, you are watering correctly.

Even if your trees and shrubs were labeled "drought tolerant," they will need watering until they get fully established in the soil, which can take up to a year.

With research, climate awareness and a little trial and error, watering your trees and shrubs correctly will help them flourish into magnificent plants, adding a little more charm to your garden.


Improve the health and yield of your plants with helpful tips in the Eco-Friendly Irrigation Project download.

Water your favorite plants with these stylish eco-friendly watering spouts.

Explore the science behind gardening by downloading the Horticulture Smart Gardening Guides: Science Matter.

Keep your plants thriving through any weather conditions with help from the Smart Gardening Series: Weather and Science.

Help your trees and shrubs flourish by following these helpful tips in the Trees & Shrubs Digital Value Pack.