There’s no doubt that we are experiencing a changing climate with wetter winters and drier summers. February was the wettest on record for the UK after a very wet winter, followed by March when rainfall shrunk to 47% of the average then May, which had actual rainfall of 6.7mm compared to a long term average of 52.8mm.
These unprecedented dry summers play havoc with newly planted trees, even trees which have been planted 2 years ago and unless they are watered regularly, they will not survive.
Even without the dry weather, watering is crucial as it allows a tree to become established and develop a strong root system. People don’t automatically think they need to water trees which have been moved and planted as there is an assumption that for some reason it’s not necessary, perhaps due to their size.
We sell our trees with root balls which means the roots are much smaller than they would naturally be on a tree of the equivalent size. This hampers the trees ability to suck adequate water up from the ground in order to survive. We need to compensate for this small root system with regular watering, even when there has been rain.
The roots are delicate and take a few years to grow to full size. Regular watering is therefore vital in these first few years after planting as if they are allowed to dry out too much the tree will very likely not survive.
How to water
To help retain the water around the base of the tree, create a rim of soil roughly 20cm tall. This means you can give it a good soak with a hosepipe and the water won’t run off and will soak into the roots of the tree.