Proper Watering and Care of Newly Planted Trees

Arborists in Los Gatos, CA Reveal Tips for Tree Transplanting

How to Care for a Newly Planted Tree

Landscaping designs usually include trees as a point of interest. Available in a variety of colors and heights, they are beautiful to behold, and can grow to provide shade or even fruit. Plus, planting trees is good for the environment! And, because they live so long when properly cared for, planting young trees is an investment in the future.

Learn to care for your investment: how often to water trees, how to avoid transplant shock, and best practices for ensuring your new trees have the best start.

The Importance of New Tree Care

Anyone who has purchased new trees can attest to how expensive they can be. Depending on the species and the size, new trees can cost anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars. What a waste it would be, then, to spend all that money on a new tree only to stick it in the ground and forget it.

Newly planted trees are delicate and have special care requirements. A professional arborist or landscaper should help you with caring for your new trees, because the proper care right from the start will help your trees have long, healthy lives.

Transplant Shock: What It Is and How To Avoid It

When a tree or shrub is newly planted, it can develop transplant shock. This is a biological reaction that results from the tree not having established roots. Without established roots, the tree cannot obtain enough nutrients to grow and thrive. A tree that is stressed from transplant shock is even more susceptible to disease, injury, and insects. Signs of transplant shock include wilting or curling leaves, discolored leaves or needles, or falling leaves or needles. Ignoring these symptoms means that your tree will likely die.

The likelihood of transplant shock varies by species, but larger trees will take longer to adapt. To avoid transplant shock or to help overcome it, develop a watering routine as outlined below.

New Tree Watering Routine and Best Practices

Watering trees is crucial to their survival, especially when they are newly planted. How often to water new trees depends a lot on the climate, the type and quality of the soil, and the size and species of the transplanted tree. For best results, consult an arborist or landscaper for specific tree watering recommendations. Otherwise, follow this routine:

  • Water immediately at the time of tree planting.
  • Water daily for the next week or two after tree planting.
  • Water every 2 to 3 days for up to 12 weeks after tree planting.
  • Water once weekly after 12 weeks, until roots are established.

It can take a long time for trees to establish a healthy root system, so be patient and water routinely. A good rule of thumb is to expect one year of shock for every inch in diameter of the tree trunk. So, if the trunk of your new tree is roughly three inches in diameter, it may take up to three years before the tree is totally established.

Other best practices for tree transplanting include:

  • Dig the hole for the tree at least twice the size of the root ball.
  • Use the appropriate soil. Some trees love acidic soil, for example, so shop for a garden soil that will benefit your specific tree.
  • Gently tamp down the soil and water immediately to settle the soil. Fill in holes where needed.
  • Shelter new trees from harsh weather. Some trees might benefit from being covered during their first winter.

For tree care details specific to your trees, consult a professional arborist, landscaper, or nursery worker.

Get the Best Tree Care From ArborWorks, Inc.

With over 40 years in the tree care industry, ArborWorks Inc. is the best choice for tree care in Los Gatos, CA (which has been a Tree City USA for 40 years) and the surrounding areas. Their arborists offer tree removal, trimming, pruning, cutting, and care, as well as irrigation services and landscape construction and maintenance. ArborWorks is licensed, fully insured, and Diamond Certified by the American Ratings Corporation.


A fair price for prompt and superb work… what more can one ask for? ArborWorks owner, Don Mcintyre, came personally to assess my job – pruning one large pine out of the power lines, thinning its crown for more sunlight on my garden, and pulling out some smaller bushes including the stumps – and it was an excellent price for the job. ArborWorks arborist, Hildargo, who bravely and cheerfully climbed to the tips of the highest branches to clear the power lines, successfully turned the heavily…
Tammy M.San Francisco, CA


Arborworks Inc. Diamond Certified


Gloden Shovel Standard