Over the years we have seen many plant problems. One of the biggest problems has been larger trees and shrubs dying weeks after transplant and sometime they make it all season and don’t come up the next year.
A landscaper came to the greenhouse many years ago and told me this trick and I have been using it and telling everyone about it ever since. The logic make total sense, a plant has roots all the way to the bottom of the pot, and all of those roots need nourishment and water! So if we get the water to the bottom, we get the tree to survive, simple! Now here is the way my Husband and I plant trees and shrubs in our own yard for great success!
1) Dig a hole two times the width and the exact depth of the container.
2) Add some water to the bottom of the hole.
3) Soak the tree or shrub in a large bucket or wheelbarrow of water for 20-30 minutes (for an extra boost, use water soluble fertilizer mixed to the package directions.)
4) Place the shrub or tree in the hole holding the root ball. Gently loosen the roots to help them grow out. Make sure the truck is straight and the root crown is even with the ground.
5) Use a 3-4” PVC pipe cut to the depth size of the pot plus 3”. Place next to the root ball when planting. This will allow bottom root watering once tree is planted.
6) Take the native soil that came from the hole and mix with 1/2 high quality potting soil or compost and manure. Backfill around the tree and gently tamp the soil to prevent air pockets. Don’t mound soil around the trunk, but, instead create a well or circle dam around the tree to catch water.
7) Water slowly filling both the PVC pipe and the well. Allow the water to soak in and then fill back up again. Continue process until adequate amount is given.
8) Add 2 inches of quality mulch, being careful to not pile against the trunk. This will retain moisture and protect the roots in cold climates.
9) For the first year, water 2-3 times a week, more in dry weather, continue watering in the second year if necessary.
Don’t forget to fertilize with water soluble fertilizer, typically every 3rd watering. Good luck and great planting!