Water Trees and Shrubs Correctly From the Start

Home Depot
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Difficulty: Beginner
Duration: 1 hour


Learn more about how to water trees and shrubs ll The Home Depot Garden Club

Protect your investment in newly planted trees and shrubs by watering correctly until they’re established.

Shrubs, including flowering shrubs, take about one year to settle in; for trees,  it is two or more years. Be diligent with watering until then.

How you water is more important than how often you water. Opt for slow and deep; your goal for both trees and shrubs is to keep the roots and soil moist but not drenched.


  1. Water right. The best time to water is in the morning. Water only the ground directly beneath the leaves.
  2. Water deeply. Immediately after planting, water deeply by setting a hose or a sprinkler on the lowest setting under the plant until water penetrates 8 inches to 10 inches.
  3. Water again. After planting, water the following day to allow soil to settle and reduce large air pockets.
  4. Water slowly. For the first season, water slowly once a week, saturating 8 inches to 10 inches deep.
  5. Don’t overwater. The easiest way to check soil moisture is to stick an 8” screwdriver into the soil. If you can’t poke it in at least 6”, it’s time to water.
  6. Reach the roots. If using an irrigation system, be sure water reaches roots. Drip hoses that surround the plants are more efficient than sprinklers.

TIP 1:

No time? Drill several holes into the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket. Place the bucket near the plant and fill it with water. The bucket will deliver water at a slow rate, penetrating the soil deeply.

TIP 2:

Prior to planting, water well. The roots should be moist all the way through. Do this while the tree or shrub is still in the pot or burlap, or once the plant is in the ground, but before the hole is filled with soil.


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