Landscape plants are much like pets and humans in their need for some tender loving care during major heat waves and long dry spells. When provided with enough, but not too much water and nutrition people, pets and valuable landscape plants will do well even under extreme heat stress.
New plantings are especially vulnerable until they have extended new roots into the surrounding soil. While balled and burlapped trees and shrubs can do well with one or two good waterings per week during their period of establishment – 1 to 2 years – trees, shrubs and perennials that were purchased in plastic nursery pots can dry out and be severely damaged in just one or two days in hot, windy and low humidity conditions.
The reason potted plants dry out so quickly when placed into your landscape is that potting soil is formulated to drain and dry out quickly to avoid root rot while they are in the pots. They also dry out quickly when planted in your yard that is until new roots have grown out into the soil surrounding the planting site. This can take from 6-12 weeks, depending on how compacted the soil is.
If the tree, shrubs or perennial receives aggressive root pruning prior to planting to completely shred any matted roots on the outside of the root ball, AND if there is lots of loose, unpacked soil filled in around the root ball, the rooting out process can happen much much faster. Allow water and gravity to settle the crumbly soil around t he shredded root ball rather than packing the loose soil.
For more details on precision watering you can check out our instructions page on watering. Keep in mind that most trees and shrubs purchased in nursery pots will need a little water everyday the first 4-6 weeks, every other day the next 4-6 weeks, and every third or 4th day until a year has passed (take the winter off from watering). Do not allow the hose to trickle on the plant. You will have no idea how much water you gave it, and you may drown the plant.
Successful planting can be done even in a heat wave if you give them enough water, but not too much water on a daily basis. Keep ’em happy and keep ’em hydrated!