The goal with newly planted trees is to keep the ground moist. We do not recommend watering by the calendar (e.g. "every third day") because it depends on soil conditions and weather. When it's hot water will evaporate more quickly; with clay soil water will soak in more slowly; with sandy soil it will dissipate faster.
We suggest you check the ground often (every day if possible). You should be able to form a soft ball with the dirt a few inches below the surface. When the area starts to dry, use a slow running hose (not a sprinkler system) laid near the trunk of the tree to fill the berm that was created during planting. Build the berm back up when it falls apart. Also, do not put anything on top of the rootball (mulch, flowers, rocks, etc).
Continue to check the soil often, and water again when the ground starts to dry. You should expect to water more often in the hot summer months, then taper off as the weather cools. Deeper, less frequent waterings are helpful in allowing water to soak down to the roots.
Winter watering is also important. Plan to water at least once a month during the winter. Snow is not sufficient because one foot of snow equals only one inch of rain.
Do not fertilize your tree for the first year. Fertilizer stimulates top growth and robs roots of the energy they need to reestablish themselves.
Remove stakes after one year.
Trees that get stressed over extended dry periods don't do well for a couple of years. A few hours of care the first year will reward you for many years to come.
85% - 95% of roots are removed when a tree is dug for transplanting. Therefore, the idea when planting trees is to promote rapid re-growth of roots and to reduce stress imposed by the moving process.
Watch this YouTube video to see how it's done:
When you buy a tree grown in a root control bag you get over 80% of the roots. As a result, when the tree is planted it grows vigorously right away. Because the bag is full of fibrous roots, we can grow a larger tree and it will be several hundreds pounds lighter than a similar tree that is balled and burlapped. Many of our customers choose to plant their own trees, and one grown in a root control bag is much more manageable. There are lots of roots in the bag waiting to take off, so keeping your tree adequately watered after planting is the best way to ensure healthy survival. We recommending staking your new tree for one full year. Roots need oxygen, so do not put anything (mulch, rocks, grass, even dirt) on top of the rootball. See watering instructions below. To find out how to plant, watch this short YouTube video:
The procedure for planting trees that are in plastic pots is similar to root control bags as described above. However, there are a few differences so please watch this YouTube video to learn the details. Important similarities are that you should stake the tree and not put anything (mulch, rocks, grass, dirt) on top of the rootball so that oxygen can reach the roots.