When to Water Your Trees | Blog | Front Range Arborists

When to Water Your Trees

Knowing how to care for your trees is essential to maintaining your healthy landscape— and water is what they are thirsting for the most.

It can be tricky to know when your trees need water and when they’ve had enough. Moisture needs vary from tree to tree, as no two are alike.

If you have questions about when to water your trees, you are not alone. Our team at Front Range Arborists is sharing their expert tips to help you ensure that all of your trees are healthy and receiving plenty of water.

How Much Water Does a Tree Need Daily?

In general, your tree will require about an inch of water per day or enough to moisten the soil to a depth of 10 inches. Each tree will have differing water requirements based on age, location, time of year and a number of other factors.

If you are unsure if the soil needs water, poke a long screwdriver into the ground. It should be easy to push the screwdriver into moist soil, but if the soil is dry, it will be more difficult. If the screwdriver won’t pass through at least six inches of soil, it is time to water.

When to Water Young Trees

Taking care of newly-planted trees will require a bit more attention than maintaining your mature trees. Once a new tree has been planted, the majority of its roots will remain in its root ball for the first several months. Some roots will begin to grow beyond this area, so it will be important to keep the root ball and the surrounding soil moist to encourage healthy root growth.

Once the roots have expanded, after a few months, you will want to expand your watering zone, as well.

It is important to thoroughly water your tree immediately after planting. Water your young trees twice a week for up to the first couple of years to allow the root system to establish. You may wish to cover the soil with mulch or wood chips to help conserve moisture and keep weeds and grass from absorbing the water supply.

When to Water Mature Trees

Once a tree has matured, its root system has been established and its water requirements will change. Because the roots will now be deep into the ground, watering will involve deep, soaking irrigation to cover the area below the tree canopy.

Water your trees once or twice a week during the growing season if there is no rainfall that week.

How to Water Trees

Drip systems or soaker hoses are often preferred for watering trees, as they allow the slow release of water to soak deep down into the soil and roots.

Can You Overwater a Tree?

While it may seem that trees are always thirsty, it is possible to overwater a tree. It may be tricky to tell the difference between an overwatered and underwatered tree, so we will list a few of the tell-tale signs. If you are unsure, checking the soil for moisture levels will probably give you the answer.

Signs of Overwatering Trees

If the area around the tree is constantly wet, there’s a good chance that it has been overwatered. Yellow leaves on lower branches may tell you that the new growth isn’t being allowed to fully develop because of too much moisture. Overwatering can also lead to root rot or fungus.

Signs of Underwatering Trees

If your trees are not receiving enough water, their leaves may appear wilted or curling, with brown tips or edges, and the canopy may be sparse with undersized leaves. Leaves on a tree that has been underwatered may also turn color and drop earlier in the fall than those on a healthy tree.

How Often Should You Water a Newly-Planted Tree in the Fall?

Follow the same rule of thumb for watering a newly-planted tree by watering it immediately. Water it once a day for the first two weeks and then once a week as long as the tree is not dormant.

Should You Water Mature Trees in the Fall?

Once your trees have dropped their leaves, you will want to give them a deep watering before the ground freezes.

What Is the Best Time of Day to Water a Tree?

In the evening, two to three hours before dusk is the best time to water a tree.

Water is the key to life for your trees. If you tend to your newly-planted trees by watering them frequently, you should have healthy trees that grow to full maturity and provide your landscape with the beauty and shade you desire.

The team at Front Range Arborists offers a full range of tree services and is available to consult with you on any of your tree health concerns. Contact us today with your tree-related questions.


Find out more about how Front Range Arborists can help provide services to residential, commercial, and municipal institutions with all of our Tree Services: