How much water does my tree need?

How much water does my tree need?

tree watering bagsWater is a vital part of tree care, growth and development. Whether coming from organic sources (rain) or manual watering, it makes up 80-90% of actively growing tissues (leaves and root tips) and approximately half of the woody portions (trunks, stems, large roots) of trees and shrubs. Simply put, it’s a big deal. We’ll explain how to care for new and established trees and give some guidelines for watering your precious plants.

Newly planted trees

Congratulations! You’re helping the environment by adding beautiful trees to your personal or professional property. Make sure your new addition gets the best care possible. For several months after planting, most of a tree’s roots are still within the original root ball. The root area should be kept moist to encourage those roots to grow. A few months later, expand the watering zone to cover the entire area under the canopy.

Did you know? It takes two or more growing seasons for a tree’s roots to grow into the soil beyond the planting hole.

For newly planted trees, water immediately after you plant the tree. Newly planted trees need consistent water to prevent water stress. During the first couple of growing seasons provide water frequently and cover the soil with wood-chip mulch to help with heat and drought.  The roots will be established in your yard for more than two years. At this point, the tree is established and it’s easier for it to withstand a wider range of water conditions on its own because it has a proper root structure.

Established trees

Whether inherited established vegetation or grown from seedlings, maintaining your mature tree is an important task.  Along with pruning and trimming, watering your mature trees helps maintain health and longevity. The best time to water a tree is when the top 6-9” of soil in the root zone are dry. Use a spade to dig a small hole under the canopy and feel the soil. If it’s cool and moist, no water is needed. But, if the soil is dry, it’s time to water. Just make sure to use the right amount of water. Too little and too much water can harm your plants. As a general rule of thumb, apply enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of 10” or more for mature trees.

Ostvig Tree Care is happy to help you understand the best way to comprehensively maintain your trees – contact us today!