Tel: 608-838-3290

A Large Tree Nursery in Madison, WI

Tree care sheet


Here is a PDF of watering and care instructions for easy printing

Or here are the instructions:

Copyright 2018 Trees on Wheels.  All rights reserved.

Trees on Wheels

Watering Instructions

You can’t water your tree too much during the first week!
Water it until the water is running off.  Then move the hose to a different part of the rootball.  Saturate the rootball.

One of the main points of watering is to water enough that the rootball settles (even oozes) into the hole.  Enough water allows the weight of the rootball to push any air out.  Roots won't cross an air gap (the hole and rootball don't always fit like a glove.  Sometimes there is a gap where the spade was).

Most of the roots are in the first 18 inches of the soil! Because of this we don’t recommend these “root-feeder”-type probes for watering.

When watering, your goal is to saturate the rootball.  To minimize runoff, a soaker hose is a great idea.  They are as cheap as $10.  

A rough watering schedule / checklist:

Day planted

Date planted

Watering frequency

(saturating the rootball)

Week 1


As much as possible!!!

(3-4x per day for 30 mins)

Week 2  

  2x per day

Week 3, 4 and 5


1x per day  to 1x per weekday

Weeks 6 and 7


Every other day

Week 8 to week 12   Once every week

Summer (unless new)


1-2x per week

First fall (until hard freeze)


1x per week

First spring (for 2 months)


1x per week


Fall/Spring year 2


About 10 times

Fall/Spring year 2


About 10 times

Fall/Spring year 3


About 10 times

Fall/Spring year 3


About 10 times

Fall/Spring year 4


About 10 times


These watering instructions are approximate.  Use your best judgment, but do water a lot, ESPECIALLY in the first 2-3 months.  If you have any questions, please call us:
(608) 838-3290  or check out

Our trees have a 2 year warranty (custom moves for customers are not covered).  If a tree we sold dies within 1 year of installation, we will replace it for free.  If it dies between one year and 2 years from installation, we will replace it for ½ of the paid price.
Trees that look ugly because of lack of care are not covered by the warranty.  So please take care of your tree!

⦁       Increase watering in times of drought.
⦁       Increase watering if new growth is droopy, or if the leaves are wilting.  Pay special attention to the leader (~the growth at the top of the tree) because that is the last part of the tree to get water since it is highest up.
⦁       If new growth is droopy, spray the leaves/needles with water.  This cools the tree off like sweating does for us.

It can take a tree up to 5 years to get re-established (3 is more normal).  The care given in the first year has a great effect on the re-establishment period.

Other care
Any weeds, grass, flowers, bushes near the tree are just competition for the tree.

I am not a fan of Round-Up(TM) (generic: glyphosate) but spraying it once to kill the weeds around the tree can be a good move.  Probably the best plan is to apply mulch and then spray whatever weeds come up through the mulch.  Avoid spraying it on any exposed roots or anything green on the tree.  If you do, just rinse it off with water.

MULCH.  Mulch is very important.  We recommend putting down a 4-6 inch layer of bark mulch beneath the tree.  Bark mulch helps retain moisture and keeps down the weeds.  Mulch as large an area as possible.  Normally a tree’s roots extend beyond the tree’s branches.  It is a good idea to mulch at least as far out as the branches reach, and maybe even farther.
Make sure no mulch is touching the trunk of the tree.  Mulch touching the bark will make the bark rot.

Do not put dirt on top of the rootball.  The roots are used to being at a certain depth in the soil.  Roots need to be able to breathe.  Mulch allows roots to breathe (as long as it isn’t too much mulch).  Soil makes it more difficult.  Compacted soil is even worse.  Many trees that are in schoolyards suffer from compacted soil (and sometimes die) because kids are often playing in and around the trees.
The same thing can be observed when people build a house in the woods--heavy construction equipment compacts the soil in the forest, and within a few years the large trees die, and the house is in a clearing in the forest.  If you find yourself in a real forest, observe how loose the soil is.

Visit our Aftercare Overview page for more ideas.

Copyright 2018 Trees on Wheels.  All rights reserved.