The Q&A Archives: Watering Of Trees

Question: I have recently planted 7 new trees in my yard and I am not sure how often to water them. How do you know when it is time to water and how much water they need? Also do different types of trees need to be watered differently.

Answer: As a tree grows, its new roots tips, where nutrients are being absorbed, spread out laterally. If you are watering only within a few-foot area at the base of the tree, it's not really being watered effectively. Expand your watering zone out PAST the tree's canopy. As the tree grows, continue expanding that water zone. If you have an irrigation system, you need to move the emitters out. If you use a hose, just drag it out further. In any case, water slowly and deeply to ensure water penetration and to leach salts below the root zone. There are numerous variables involved for watering schedules, such as type of soil, how fast or slow it drains, sun and wind exposure at your site, temperature, age and condition of the plants and much more. It?s important to learn the specific needs of your landscape, both for its health and your water bill. Use a soil probe (any long, pointed piece of metal or wood to poke into the soil) to check how far water has penetrated. The probe moves easily through moist soil, but stops when it hits hard dry soil. For newly planted trees, water should reach about 2 feet deep, expanding to 3 feet as it matures. You probably need to water about once a week until the root system establishes, or keep the soil consistently moist for a month or so. Then gradually taper off. Depending on the summer heat, you might need to water once a week, or maybe every two weeks. Yes, different trees have different water requirements. Native adapted plants to OK will require less water than trees from rainier climates, for example. Hope this helps!

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