Tree Care

Post Planting: Tree Water and Care Guide

Fannin Tree Farm wants you to have good instructions on how to care for your trees. If you have any questions, or need further assistance, contact us at 972-747-9233 to speak to your sales consultant.


How and what should I use to water my tree?

Watering a new tree the first year is very simple. The tree roots have not grown out into the native soils, so the root ball must stay moist. Water will move through the root ball and outward into the native soil and naturally encourage root development. The best methods for watering trees consist of hand watering, drip irrigation and irrigation bubblers. Always soak the root ball slowly, so that you can prevent runoff. Gator bags are other effective tools that can be purchased at retail stores (Home Depot and Lowes) and online at Amazon.


How much water does my tree require?

We recommend deep watering up to 5 gallons of water per trunk caliper inch per watering day. Drier climate species (i.e., Eldarica Pines) may require only about 3 gallons of water per trunk caliper inch per watering day. Your sprinkler system will not be enough unless on a drip system or bubblers.

Container Size Caliper Size Gallons of Water (Per Watering)
30 2 10
45 3 15
65 3.5 17.5
100 4 20
150 5 25
200 6 30
7 35
8 40
9 45
10 50
11 55
12 60


How many days per week should I water my new tree, the first year?

In the Fall, Winter and Spring, water every other day for the first two weeks. This will prevent transplant shock. In the summer, you may need to water up to daily for the first two weeks.

After the first two weeks, follow the chart below for the first growing season. Remember to always check the root ball for moisture. If it’s very wet, do not apply more water.

We also want you to use the temperature chart for watering your tree after the first year.

Temperature (Degrees Fahrenheit) Water Schedule (Days per Week)
32-60 1 day per week
55-70 1-2 days per week
70-80 2-3 days per week
80-90 3 days per week
90-100 3-4 days per week
Over 100 As needed


How long should I wait after a rain to water my new tree?

We recommend checking the root ball. If it is holding water, do not add more until it begins to dry out. The root ball needs to be moist, not waterlogged. Never let the roots completely dry out. A dry root is a dead root. We want to always maintain about 50% soil moisture in between watering.


How can I check if my soil is moist?

You can step on the root ball or use a screwdriver to probe the soil. If you see water come up, then consider waiting. Also place your hand on the soil to see if it is very wet, cool and moist, or dry.


How do I know if I am overwatering?

A tree can die from overwatering. If your tree looks weak, always start by checking the soil moisture. If it’s too wet, the soil will let you know. If the soil has a foul odor, like rotten eggs, then cut back watering and call a Certified Arborist. This could lead to a root rot disease.


How do I fertilize my own trees?

Here are a couple of safe products that can be purchased at retail stores or Amazon.

tree care basics

Epsom Salt is hydrated magnesium sulfate. In most of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the soils are very high in calcium, and magnesium is limited. Epsom Salts aids in balancing nutrition and improves uptake of other nutrients such as, nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron. It also plays a role in developing plant cells and the chlorophyll molecule (which is responsible for photosynthesis). Applications of magnesium sulfate have been demonstrated to improve foliar color and density in our DFW soils.

  • Epsom Salt – 1 teaspoon per 1-gallon of water.
    • Use once every two weeks for the first 2-months and once per month for the next 10-months.
    • You can continue to use this product monthly after the first year.
    • Pour over the root ball and beyond to the native soil.

watering trees

  • Osmocote (inorganic) We recommend twice a year in April and August.

fertilizing trees

  • Milorganite (organic) We recommend (1) Spring, (1) Summer and (1) Fall application.
    • Follow the label instructions on how to apply.


Please do not use weed and feed fertilizer.

We recommend our Fannin Thrive Advance tree care program. Our Certified Arborist provide onsite consultations and prescription fertilizer programs. Contact us at 972-747-9233 and ask your sales representative or Tree Services for more information.


How do I treat for harmful insects that may attack my trees?

BioAdvanced Tree and Shrubs Insect Control is a good product for most hardwoods. We do not recommend this product to be applied to Magnolias or Cypress species. This active ingredient (imidacloprid) has been known to increase spider mite populations on these above species. Follow the label instructions. 1-treatment should provide season long control of scale, aphids and wood borers (coleopterans-wood boring beetles). If you have a tree concern that you are not sure about, contact a Certified Arborist right away.


How should I mulch my tree?

We recommend hardwood, pine bark or cypress mulch. Spread a 1 to 2-inch layer of mulch above the root ball. Do not cover the trunk of the tree with mulch or soil. Maintain this mulch. Once a month, use a rake to disturb the mulch to make sure it does not repel water. The base of the tree should flare outward like a wine glass. See our example below.

tree care basics
Photo courtesy of American Arborist 2010

Do not add soil or plant material on top of the root ball. This includes sod, flowers, shrubs and any other plant material. Doing this will void the warranty.


If you stake my tree, do I need to do anything?

Yes, if your tree needs to be staked it will be staked by Fannin Tree Farm. The stakes should be removed by the owner after the 2nd Spring season of install to prevent girdling and other permanent damage. This will allow the new tree to become firmly “rooted in” and stable on its own.


Could my tree experience stress from its new environment?

Yes, your tree may experience “stress” from its new environment. This may cause yellowing, browning or loss of leaves. Don’t be alarmed. If this continues, scrape the surface of the affected limbs with your thumbnail or paring knife. If it should show a light green, moist surface underneath it is doing just fine and working to adapt to its new environment.



For the first year, use Superthrive monthly (1/2 once per 5-gallons water). Pour at the base of soil well and pour water in thoroughly. We recommend using Osmocote twice a year (in April and August). Use Bayer Tree and Shrub as needed for insects.


Please feel free to call us with any other questions or concerns.


Top Five Mistakes with New Trees


Under watering in the hot summer months see more on water instructions above.

Overwatering in the cooler months.


Grade Changes

Adding as little as two inches of soil over a tree’s root zone can lead to death from oxygen deficiency. Almost all of a tree’s feeder roots are in the top twelve inches of soil. Placing soil around a tree to make a raised flowerbed is a slow but sure way to damage or kill the tree.



Broadleaf weed killers can also kill trees. They should be used with extreme caution. The same caution applies to weed-and-feed fertilizers.


Improper Pruning

When pruning, never leave stubs, which are an invitation to insects and disease. Cut just outside the branch “collar” at the base of the limb. And remember, there is never any reason to “top” a tree. This practice weakens the tree, destroys its natural shape, leads to weak and unsightly new growth that can break in high winds, and severely shortens the tree’s life.


Mechanical Injury

Many trees, especially young ones, are damaged by the careless use of lawnmowers and weed trimmers. Cutting through the protective bark and into the cambium layer beneath the bark, can interfere with the movement of water and nutrients and seriously weakens the tree.


Let Fannin Tree Farm’s service department staffed by certified Arborists help you with all your Tree Care needs, including our quarterly maintenance and preventive tree care services.