Tree Watering Instructions

New Trees

Watering a new tree properly during its first year is critical to its success or failure. Follow these watering instructions and your new tree will be off to a good start in life. We recommended you mark the watering dates in your calendar so it is not forgotten and also not too often.

First Season

After planting water 3-4 hours twice a week with a slow trickle or 8-10hrs once a week for one month. The best place to water is the edges of the root ball as to encourage the roots to expand. Always take into account any rainfall.

If your soil is very sandy it is recommended to water twice a week. If your soil is primarily clay, check its moisture level before watering by probing it with a rod or screwdriver. Clay soils can retain water for longer periods and a tree can become overwatered.

If you cannot set a hose on a slow trickle an alternative is to drill a 1/8” hole in the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket, sill it with water and set it at the base of the tree. If using this method ensure the tree receives 10 gallons of water per week. If the tree is large, add another 10 gallons per week for every inch more than 2” the tree is in caliper.

After the first month, watering can be reduced to slow trickle for 3-4 hours once a week or 8-10 hours once every two weeks. Additional watering in September may be necessary if it is exceptionally dry.

Continue to water until the trees drop their leaves. Evergreens may be watered until the ground freezes. Never water during a chinook, this will shock the tree!

Second & Third Seasons

It takes at least three growing seasons for a tree to become established. Water 8-10 hours once every two weeks. Adjust for any rain the tree receives.

As the tree grows larger, water along its drip line. The drip like is defined by the outermost edge of the tree canopy where the water drips from the leaves onto the ground.

Once Established

Continue to water the tree just inside and outside of its drip line. Continue to use a slow trickle watering method. Water deeply to moisten the soil 24”-30” in depth rather than frequently.

Additional Tips for Success

  • Keep grass and other plant material out of the base of the tree.
  • Maintain a ring of mulch around the tree approximately the diameter of drip line for smaller trees and about 6-feet in diameter for larger trees.
  • Do not let wet mulch touch the trunk of the tree as it can cause rotting.
  • Do not water the trunk of the tree directly.

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