How Much Do I Have To Water My New Tree?

Have you recently planted a new tree? You’re in good company.

Research shows that people plant more than 1.8 billion trees annually worldwide. This means they plant nearly 58 trees every second.

Tree-planting efforts can help enhance the planet’s ecosystems by providing homes for wildlife and reducing flooding. New trees also clean the atmosphere by generating oxygen and reducing outdoor temperatures in urban environments.

A newly planted tree may not get enough rainfall, so watering it is your duty. Let’s explore how much to water a tree in your garden here.

New Tree Watering Schedule

You’ll need to water a newly planted tree more often than an older, established tree. Start by watering your new tree when you plant it and then daily for the first two weeks.

Water your tree every two to three days during weeks 3 to 12. Give the tree water weekly after the 12th week. It’ll be established enough at the two-year mark that it only needs to receive water every couple of weeks versus weekly.

Water a Tree With the Right Tools

Use a water wand attachment and soaker hose to water your newly planted tree. Wand attachments are better than harsher spray nozzles since they won’t disrupt your tree’s soil. These attachments also won’t damage your tree’s leaves or bark since they provide gentle water flows.

A soaker hose is excellent for watering entire rows of trees. An example of this is a row of several arborvitaes. Arborvitaes are broad, tall, dense evergreen trees shaped like pyramids.

Tree Maintenance Issues

How can you tell if your new tree isn’t getting enough or if it’s getting too much? Let’s review some warning signs of poor watering practices and how to fix them.

Not Enough Water

Are your new tree’s branches and leaves brittle and dry? This is a sign of dehydration.

Suppose you’re watering the dirt around the tree until you’ve soaked the soil. The water may be evaporating before your tree’s roots can absorb it.

Set an alarm to water the tree every morning. The morning hours are the best time for watering all plants. Remind yourself to water the tree again each afternoon on the driest and hottest summer days.

Excess Water

Do you notice fungus or mold on your new tree? You might be watering it too often. Here are some signs your tree has fungus:

  • Leaf spots featuring dark brown or purple borders
  • Dusting on the bark
  • Mushrooms growing around the tree base or out of the bark
  • Leaf wilting or discoloration

Tree mold growth may look like a powder or spots on your tree leaves. Tree trunks can usually survive mold growth, but mold will likely kill your tree if it develops on its leaves.

Dial back your watering and study your tree to see if the mold and fungus disappear. Another way to address this problem is to water the root area only. Don’t water the tree’s leaves since saturated leaves may invite diseases.

Tree Growth Timeline

Trees take longer to become established the bigger they are. Measure your tree trunk’s caliper (diameter) when you plant it to determine the root establishment timeline.

Perform the caliper measurement with a tape measure six inches above the dirt for a tree diameter of four inches maximum. Do it a foot above the dirt for a diameter over four inches.

Apply one to 1.5 gallons of water per caliper inch during each tree watering. Here is a guide for how long it will take for a tree to become established depending on its caliper measurement.

  • one inch = 1.5 years
  • two inches = 3 years
  • three inches = 4.5 years
  • four inches = 6 years
  • five inches = 7.5 years
  • six inches = 9 years

Remember that a tree with a one-inch caliper will require no more than 1.5 gallons of water at every irrigation. One with a six-inch caliper should receive at most nine gallons.

Where You Should Water Your Tree?

Water your new tree at the root level as mentioned earlier. Apply the water to the tree’s root ball, keeping the planting hole backfill soil moist. This will help the roots expand into the soil.

A tree root may grow to triple the branches’ spread within two to three years. This means you’ll need to expand your watering area over time.

Develop a solid water reservoir for the best results. Do this by creating a circular earth mound three to four inches high at the root ball’s edge, allowing it to encircle the plant.

Fill this reservoir slowly with water so that the water infiltrates around and into the ball. A Treegator bag can slowly deliver water to the tree’s root ball once the tree becomes established.

Apply Mulching Around the Tree

Apply mulch (pine needles, wood chips) around your tree to increase its chances of survival. Mulch will help your tree’s root ball retain the space, water, and nutrients it needs to become established. It will also prevent runoff around your tree if it’s growing on a sloped site or in heavy clay soil.

Apply no more than three inches of mulch around the tree trunk. Too much mulch will prevent irrigation water or rain from entering the tree’s root ball. Excess mulch will also decrease the oxygen level around the tree root, causing root suffocation.

Another reason to avoid over-mulching your tree is that this will keep poorly drained soil too wet, leading to root rot. This may further lead to excessively wet bark, resulting in bark decay.

How We Can Help With Tree Planting?

Water a tree every day after planting for the first two weeks. Give it water two to three times weekly up to week 12, and water it weekly after this. Watering the tree every couple of weeks should suffice once the tree is two years old.

We offer high-quality tree maintenance services at Tree-Line Arbor Care, LLC. We can keep your new trees on the right watering schedule to ensure optimal tree growth and health.

We also offer tree removal, pruning, storm response, stump grinding, and lot clearing services. Inquire for an estimate today!