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Sometimes all you need to give your landscape that well-groomed view is to plant a couple of trees. Luckily, they come in all kinds: some produce flowers, some bear fruits in season and others just show off their green leaves all year round.
Trees are sturdy plants once established and when grown in favourable conditions. Sunlight, rich soil and water are important for every tree’s health.
If you want to know exactly how to care for trees, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, how much, how often and how best to water your trees will be discussed extensively.
How Do Soil Conditions Affect Tree Watering?
It is crucial to determine a few factors before watering a tree. This will serve as a guide to giving the tree the best treatment it can get.
How much water a tree should get depends on some conditions like the climate of the area, the species of tree, how long ago the tree was planted and the type of soil the tree is planted in.
There are 3 basic soil types—sandy, loamy and clay. They contain nutrients in varying proportions and their water-retaining capacities differ also.
Sandy soil has the least nutrient content and does not retain water. So, a tree planted in this type of soil will need to be watered more and regularly.
Clay soil has nutrient levels that are neither too high nor too low and it retains water the most. This kind of soil is easily waterlogged so if you have a tree growing in it, you will only need to water it when you know the soil is dry.
Loamy soil is the best soil for most soil. With the highest nutrient content and free drainage, you won’t have to worry about if your tree is getting the nutrition and water it needs.
You should never let your tree stand in flooded soil or soil that is too moist to avoid problems such as fungi and root rot. Excessive moisture also exposes your tree to other kinds of infections therefore, it is best to get your soil tested to find out exactly what type you are dealing with.
Read Also: 13 Signs Your Tree Is Dying
Different Species Of Trees And Their Water Needs
Some species of trees naturally need more water than others and vice versa. Find out how much water your tree needs.
If your tree didn’t have a care label when you purchased it, research the tree species online. You can also look up books in the library, ask an arborist, or visit your local nursery.
Some trees require more water like the red or silver maple and paper or river birch. Other trees require less water, such as Arizona cypress, Japanese zelkova, white fir or Kentucky coffeetree.
How Should I Water A Recently Planted Tree?
Among the factors you must consider before providing water for trees, age is just as important as soil type. Young or recently planted trees need a lot of attention to make it to the point where they are not in danger of disease.
In other words, the more a tree ages, the stronger it gets. The first two years of a tree’s life are usually the most delicate and after this point, you can rest assured that the tree will be fine.
For young trees, a number of practices will benefit them greatly. Things such as mulching, watering and regular inspection to rule out pest infestations will maintain their lifespan.
Some other things to double-check for in recently planted trees are listed below.
1. Making sure the tree was planted correctly in the first place:
A well-grounded tree should have the very tops of the roots above the soil. If you can’t see this part, remove soil from the surface until they appear.
2. Mulching to preserve moisture:
Without a covering, the soil dries up faster from the top. Use a flat layer of mulch (2-4 inches) but start a few inches away from the base of the tree and avoid making piles with it.
3. Regular examination to check for signs of pest attack, disease or weakness in any part can save young trees.
Read Also: How To Save A Dying Tree
Watering Instructions For Newly-planted Trees
1. Young trees prefer their water slow and steady:
Water needs to reach deep into the soil to get to the roots where it is most needed. Surface watering will not provide this for the trees.
A hose is preferable for deep, steady watering. You are not encouraged to use a sprinkler because water from a sprinkler tends to pool above the soil and get on the leaves, leading to fungal infections.
2. Position the soaker hose close to the tree and let it run for about 2 hours. Remember, slow and steady.
3. You can adjust the duration of time for watering depending on the type of soil you have. Sandy soil can tolerate longer periods of watering but be careful with clay soil.
4. Make use of a bucket if you can’t get hold of a hose. Fill a large bucket with water and carry it to the tree then pour the water on the ground around the tree until it is fully watered.
You will need at least 38 liters of water for a young tree.
5. Skip watering if it has rained recently and wait until the soil has dried considerably. Water trees just once a week from June till October.
What Should I Do If My Tree Isn’t New But Was Planted In The Last Two Years?
Your tree is still young but it is somewhat established. It is out of the woods in terms of being able to resist changes in weather and soil.
How should you water it? These are the guidelines for watering a tree planted within the last 2 years:
Watering Instructions For A Tree Planted Within The Last 2 Years
1. Watering this category of trees is not much different from the method used for very young trees. The only difference is that you would have to water a wider area around the tree to encourage the roots to spread out further.
2. Move the hose further away from the tree and dig the soil a little so the water can soak in easily.
How Should I Water A Tree That Was Planted More Than Two Years Ago?
After the first two years your tree should be able to survive on just natural rainfall unless it is exceptionally hot and dry. A layer of organic mulch is always handy for your tree in that case.
Just keep in mind that the roots will continue to grow outward so you should widen the mulching circle each year to keep the roots covered. The roots will be able to draw sufficient amounts of water from nearby sources such as a garden bed or lawn as it is being watered.
What Additional Steps Should I Take If We Haven’t Had Rain For A While?
It is even more important to keep young trees well hydrated especially during prolonged periods of dryness. If you notice that your trees are wilting or that the edges of the leaves are turning brown, increase the frequency of watering.
Long rain breaks are not uncommon in summer and an established tree should be able to cope with a lack of moisture at least temporarily. But if the drought persists, they too will need extra water.
When the fall dry spell hits, make sure your trees have enough moisture to get them through the winter months. This may mean increasing the number of watering sessions to prevent stress from dehydration.
If the drought lasts for several months, you may also want to add extra watering throughout the winter. Make sure the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and there is no snow.
Since mulch retains moisture, it’s even more essential to keep a good layer over tree roots during periods when it doesn’t rain much. Make sure your trees have 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch in a shallow layer while making sure the mulch does not touch the trunk of your tree.
Keeping an eye on the health of your tree and following routine maintenance, such as proper pruning and inspections by experts will help keep your tree healthy and strong for a long time. Without proper watering though, a tree probably won’t survive.
Signs Of Underwatering InTrees
Trees can tell you when they are not receiving enough water. You just have to be vigilant enough to notice the signs and act on time.
Some signs that your tree needs more water are:
- withered or curled leaves that may turn brown at the tips or edges
- a sparse crown of undersized and discolored leaves, burned leaves, or yellowed leaves
- premature autumn colors and early leaf shedding
Signs Of Overwatering In Trees
Trees can equally indicate when they are receiving excessive amounts of water. Common signs of overwatering are:
- if the area around the tree is constantly wet.
- new shoots will wilt before they are fully grown or turn light green or yellow
- the leaves look green but are brittle and break easily.
To fix this and salvage the tree, stop watering it immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
How To Water Multiple Trees At Once?
You can get a hose splitter which can give you multiple water hose connections.
How Much Water Does A Tree Drink Per Day?
Trees can consume from 10 to 150 gallons of water every day.
How Much Water Does A Tree Need Per Week?
Approximately 1 inch of rain per week.
When To Stop Watering New Trees?
You should water them all through the summer and fall until the ground finally freezes.
How Long To Water Trees With Drip System?
With a drip system, water trees once a week for 45 minutes at a time.
Trees are a great addition anywhere they are planted as long as they don’t pose safety threats. Although every tree species has different watering needs, the basic techniques to keep them in optimal health are more or less the same.
With proper care, they can last for decades and will reward you with plenty of shade. You may even get flowers or fruits depending on the type of tree you plant.
Knowing how to properly water your tree is important and reading this article, you should have learnt how often, how much and how best to water your trees. We look forward to hearing about your experience after putting these methods to practice.