Watering Trees and Shrubs this Fall

watering trees and shrubs this fallSchmittel’s Nursery in St. Louis wants you to keep your trees and shrubs adequately watered by following these guidelines this fall.  Often a lack of rain or snow in October through March can have a major impact on the health of your trees, shrubs, perennials and lawns when it comes time for them to grow in the spring. Taking the proper precautions now will show when spring rolls around.

Checking Soil Moisture

There isn’t really a way to look at the soil from above and tell if it has enough moisture in it. The only way to gauge the soil moisture is to probe or dig into it. Simple tools like a trowel, metal rod, or soil sampling tool can be use. Low-cost soil moisture meters are not very accurate and are likely a waste of money. We suggest simply using a metal rod, most likely the most convenient tool for a homeowner to obtain and use. Very dry soil will be resistant to penetration of the rod and indicate a need for watering. After practice, anyone can use this simple tool.

Your Newly Planted Trees and Shrubs from Schmittel’s Nursery

Watering is the most important factor in the maintenance and care of transplanted trees from our nursery. Too much or too little water can cause injury to your trees or shrubs. Interestingly enough more trees are killed by over watering than by giving it too little. Your newly planted trees and shrubs from our nursery may need to be watered regularly for 2-3 years until their root systems become established. Some of our larger trees may take longer. The first few months of the growing season after a tree is planted, the tree will draw most of the moisture from the root ball and its surrounding area. By letting a hose run slowly at the base of  the tree or using a root-watering needle under low pressure for 5-10 minutes it will keep the rootball from drying out which can happen in only a day or two.

Established Trees and Shrubs

The top 8-12 inches of soil need to be kept moist around the trees during periods of drought. The best gauge would be to use the branches spread (dripline). There isn’t an exact formula on how much your trees and shrubs require but keeping the soil moist for the 8-12 inches deep is suggested. The amount of water to do this will vary with conditions and location, but without the adequate rainfall your trees and shrubs may need to be watered as often as every 10-15 days. It is best to take action before they show signs of stress, such as wilting or yellowing. Keep in mind you are not watering them directly but watering their roots.

Quick Tips:

  1. Water only when air and soil temperatures are above 40 degrees Fahrenheit with no snow cover.

  2. Watering during the fall will prevent root damage that affects the health of the entire plant.

  3. Large trees have a root spread equal to or greater than the height of the tree. Applying water to the root zone within the dripline is the most effective way of keeping them healthy.

Now is a great time to plant trees and shrubs in St. Louis. With new trees and shrubs coming to our nursery in Maryland Heights weekly we ensure we will have the best products in this area available for your needs. To learn more about our products and services contact us or visit our professionals at our nursery.