5. Watering

Water must be applied directly to the root ball in the months following planting, as this is where the majority of the roots are located. One of the best ways to achieve this is by building a basin or reservoir around the root ball to hold water (Figure 5).

figure5 wFigure 5. Basin to hold water, formed outside the diameter of root ball.

This should be approximately 10cm-20cm high located in a circle at the edge of the root ball. This basin can be filled with water, which allows the water to soak down into the root system (Figure 6). By doing this you can monitor how wet or dry the root ball is and adjust the amount and frequency of watering accordingly.

Do not rely on automatic sprinklers or drip systems to provide the required amount of water for a newly planted tree.

No matter what system you use, regular checks are required to see if the tree is getting the correct amount of water. Checks can be made by pushing a wooden stake or steel rod into the root ball and the surrounding soil to check how wet the ground is. Another method is to dig down the side of the root plate to the bottom of the planting hole, this allows you to check the moisture content of the root ball and monitor if the water is draining away from the root system of the newly planted tree.

figure6 wFigure 6 Filling basin with water, allowing soaking of root system.