By: Betsy Washington
The single most important thing you can do to insure your new tree's survival, is to water thoroughly once a week for the first year or two, and in times of drought.
- Be sure to water your new tree thoroughly the first year and thereafter in times of drought – about 1” of water is needed per week. This spring the soil is rather dry and I recommend giving your t rees a good spring soaking. This is easily done by placing your hose next to the trunk of the new tree and let it gently trickle out and soak into the soil for about 30 - 60 minutes, until the soil is soaked to the depth of the rootball.
- Remember your tree is a lifetime investment, and it makes sense, to soak their roots once every few weeks during extended dry periods. After the first couple of years your new tree should have developed a strong root system and will be able to withstand moderate droughts.
- You can buy plastic 'gators' at nurseries to place around the base of your tree and fill it with water each week. These will allow water to slowly seep down to the roots. You can also do this for free with a large bucket or 5 gall plastic paint bucket or milk jugs with a few nail holes punched in the bottom. Just fill with water once or twice each week and let it slowly trickle out.
- Mulch your tree annually with compost or the leaf mold WID provides free near Beach 2. This will provide all the nutrients your tree needs. Two to three inches of mulch in a wide circle around your tree is plenty applied in early spring or late fall. A couple inches of organic mulch will feed the soil which will feed your tree, prevent weeds, and help reduce watering. Leave a couple inches of space between the trunk and the mulch. Please NO "Volcano" mulch piles - they kill trees! More is NOT better.
- Lawn grass and trees don't get along well. Lawn grass inhibits tree root growth, so the best approach is to plant groundcovers beneath your trees and mulch all with free leaf mulch. Perhaps you would like to add some beautiful groundcovers beneath your new tree? Janet Davis of Hillhouse Nursery will be selling beautiful plants at Earth Day. You can pre-order from her ahead of time and she will deliver them at Earth Day.