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Watering

wateringDuring its first growing season your newly planted trees will root out into the surrounding soil, eventually enabling them to thrive without any hand watering. During this establishment phase, however, they will be relying on you for support. It is therefore vital that you learn to water them correctly.

If your tree was planted in the winter, you may not need to water it at all after watering in until spring. Deciduous trees, once they lose all their leaves, become dormant and until they begin to put out leaves, will not have any water requirements. Evergreen trees never become fully dormant and will grow slowly throughout the winter, as long as the temperature is in general above 5 degrees C. If we experience a relatively dry winter, you may need to occasionally water evergreen trees so that they can maintain their foliage especially in their first year. During the spring and summer months your trees are growing; putting out blooms, leaves and fruit, and therefore have much higher demands for water, fertilisation and care.

Watering newly planted trees is different to watering summer bedding. You've got to get the balance right: too little support and they will fail, too much and they will never become independent! The best approach is to give your trees deep soakings, rather than daily light sprinkles. This encourages the roots to seek water (and thereby grow out into the soil around it) as they sense the soil moisture levels gradually dropping in the small fibrous roots developed during their time in our Air-Pot system. We install a perforated pipe that is wrapped around the rootball 1/3 of the way down to facilitate watering, but also to allow air to circulate around the roots. The later is especially important during the trees first year, because without air the roots will die. Watering into the tube encourages root development but during hot, dry weather the original rootball can quickly dry out and top watering may be necessary, achieved by leaving a hose running very slowly near the base of the tree. If you or someone else has already planted your tree and you don't have a perforated pipe for deep watering, don't despair. Whilst not ideal, you can encourage root development by watering less near the stem of the tree, gradually becoming more generous as you move out away from the rootball, then the backfill zone and finally out into the adjoining soil. Watering in this way will encourage the roots to 'chase' the moisture outwards as the soil gradually dries out nearer the stem, but you most not over water or there will be little if any air movement to the roots which can be terminal.

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