For their first three years, newly planted trees and shrubs get extra care and attention out in the landscape. They are closely watched, kept mulched, weeded, and most importantly, receive extra water. Water stress is the leading cause of death for a newly planted plant. For their first growing season in the landscape, we aim to provide them with about five gallons of water every week. This is equivalent to an inch of rain fall per week until the plant’s root system gets established.

The Arnold Arboretum will plant roughly three to five hundred new trees, shrubs, and vines every year. This can turn into a lot of watering—especially in years of drought—and these young plants are all watered by hand from tow-behind water tanks. We have 300, 200, 100, and 50 gallon water tanks, which may all be in use during hot dry periods in the summer. In addition to watering, the plants are monitored for pests, diseases, damages, dieback, and weed control. We take our young plant care very seriously here!


Gallons in the largest towed hand-watering supply


Gallons applied weekly to plants in their first season

Rachel Brinkman is Manager of Horticulture at the Arnold Arboretum.

From “free” to “friend”…

Established in 1911 as the Bulletin of Popular Information, Arnoldia has long been a definitive forum for conversations about temperate woody plants and their landscapes. In 2022, we rolled out a new vision for the magazine as a vigorous forum for tales of plant exploration, behind-the-scenes glimpses of botanical research, and deep dives into the history of gardens, landscapes, and science. The new Arnoldia includes poetry, visual art, and literary essays, following the human imagination wherever it entangles with trees.

It takes resources to gather and nurture these new voices, and we depend on the support of our member-subscribers to make it possible. But membership means more: by becoming a member of the Arnold Arboretum, you help to keep our collection vibrant and our research and educational mission active. Through the pages of Arnoldia, you can take part in the life of this free-to-all landscape whether you live next door or an ocean away.

For more tree-entangled art, science, and writing, subscribe to Arnoldia by becoming a member of the Arnold Arboretum.