Watering

Newly planted trees must have extra water during hot, dry summer months. In fact, nearly all trees, even very large ones, benefit from extra water in the heat of July and August. Watering trees helps reduce the stress of urban life and makes trees healthier. Between the Fourth of July and Labor Day, water your trees weekly (unless it rains).

How do you give your trees enough water, but also conserve water at the same time?

The answer is:  Slow and Steady

Tree roots require a slow drip watering. This allows the water to seep below the surface and grass to the tree roots where it is needed. Do not water with a spray nozzle or sprinkler – this gets water to the surface but very little gets to the tree roots. Here are several good methods that use less water and are more effective for trees.

 

  • Use a soaker hose. The best option is a soaker hose. It’s a specially designed hose that allows water to slowly seep out all along the hose.Check the hose to make sure the water is dripping out rather than flowing or running out. If necessary, turn the water pressure lower. For newly planted trees, place the hose on top of the root ball trunk; for larger trees, place the hose under the branches and at least four feet from the trunk. Also, you can leave a soaker hose in place during the summer for easy watering. You can even cover the hose with mulch to hide it and conserve more water.

    For recently planted trees, leave the water running on for about a half hour; for older trees, leave the water running for about one hour. Timers that will automatically shut the water off on your outdoor faucets are available at lawn and garden shops.

  • Use your regular garden hose. Turn on the water, then turn the pressure to nearly off so that the water only drips out. The water should not flow out but only drip out of the hose. If necessary, turn the water pressure lower.For recently planted trees, leave the water running on for about an hour; for older trees, leave the water running for about one hour on one side and then an hour on the other side of the tree. Timers for your outdoor faucets are available at lawn and garden shops.
  • Use clean buckets or plastic milk jugs with tiny pin holes in the bottom that allow water to drip out (not flow out). Place a full bucket near the tree trunk. Put rocks in the bottom to keep it from blowing away or falling over. Young trees should receive about 25 gallons of water per week so fill the bucket several times. Check to ensure that it empties in several hours.
  • Use gator bags, or specialized tree watering bags. They use the same slow-drip technique as soaker hoses or buckets. Check to make sure the water empties in several hours. Young trees should receive about 25 gallons of water per week so fill the bag several times. Remove these bags. If left on between waterings, these bags may harbor bacteria that could attack your tree, or rodents, snakes, or insects could nest in them and damage your trees.