The lone voice of horticultural reason

“Trees should be watered every two days after planting”

Or every day, or three times a week, or all sort of times that will, quite quickly, kill the tree.

Just when I think I’ll run out of myths—there are an awful lot of them if you click the Archives below—several times a season I’ll run into homeowners who provide fresh fodder for my cannon.

This was the myth I heard several times this summer, earnest homeowners who had heard, from someone somewhere, that a tree needs to be watered every two days for about a month after planting.

Unless you’ve planted a palm in sand, that’s way too much water. When you plant a tree, water it well at time of planting, then water it every five days. This is assuming that your soil drains to some reasonable degree. How much water? Five gallons for a small, potted tree, evergreen or deciduous, ten gallons for a mid-sized tree, and fifteen gallons for large, B&B specimens. How do you know how long it takes to deliver five, ten, or fifteen gallons to the ground around the tree?

Acquire a five-gallon pail. Fill it to the brim from your hose, and time how long this takes. Now you know how long it takes to deliver five gallons of water from your hose, at whatever rate you set by turning the handle, from a gentle trickle to full bore.

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener