In Mexico, several reforestation programs have been launched; they generally fail to achieve good survival rates, mainly due to drought. To mitigate this, technologies that help plants survive in the early years should be generated. In light of this, the effect of adding water reservoirs at transplanting on survival, height, diameter and biomass of Pinus leiophylla plants, grown under simulated drought conditions in a greenhouse, was evaluated. Plants were arranged in a completely randomized design and four treatments were used: control, a 231-cc phenolic foam block, a 308-cc phenolic foam block and three grams of hydrogel, all hydrated with tap water. A survival analysis was performed, yielding significant difference between control and the other treatments (P = 0.000008). No statistically significant differences were found in height. Statistically significant differences were found in diameter among treatments at 8 (P = 0.013) and 12 weeks (P = 0.002). Statistically significant differences were detected in biomass among treatments (P = 0.0001). Adding hydrated opencell phenolic foam at transplanting significantly increased survival time and diameter of P. leiophylla under drought conditions.