# Ask a Question forum Watering

Jul 11, 2021 8:20 AM CST
California
Is two gallons of water per day sufficient for newly planted plants and trees?
Jul 11, 2021 8:54 AM CST
Name: John
Pomona/Riverside CA (Zone 9a)
A thorough soaking every other day for the first couple of weeks would be better. Where in CA are you? Being the big state that it is, watering is different in different areas. Watering here (Riverside) is different from watering in San Diego and waaaaay different from Mendocino.
“That which is, is.That which happens, happens.” Douglas Adams
Jul 11, 2021 11:05 AM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
And way way different than Lake Tahoe.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Jul 11, 2021 12:38 PM CST
California
Oxnard CA
Jul 11, 2021 12:39 PM CST
California
A "thorough soaking" of water means how many gallons?
Jul 11, 2021 2:27 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Its not a measurable thing, there are too many variables.

Dig a hole, fill it with water. After all the water is gone from the hole, dig down to see how far the soil is wet. With that information, you can calculate how much water to soak the rootball. Make a basin around your tree, measure its depth, calculate and start filling. You want the soil damp 2 or 3 ft down. For example, the basin is 3 inches deep, the water in the hole you dug soaked in 6 inches below a 6 inch deep hole. You can assume the water in a 3 inch basin will soak in 3 inches. To water 3 ft down, you would have to fill your basin 12 times. The basin needs to be at least a couple feet wider than the rootball. If the water stops sinking in before you fill the basin the calculated number of times, the soil is saturated and you can stop.

The idea is to soak the soil in and around the rootball so the tree or plant will grow into the soil and out of its container shape. You can do it by setting a sprinkler for a few hours - the water will start to puddle when the soil is soaked but, in a drought, that may not be an option.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Jul 11, 2021 2:50 PM CST
Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)

An easy way to check if your soil is hydrated enough is to stick a pointed rod (screwdriver or something like that) into the soil and see how deep it goes.
Dry soil resists penetration much better than moist soil (or you hit a rock...)
Jul 11, 2021 5:09 PM CST
California
Daisy, the best I can calculate is that the basins are about 3 feet in diameter and 3" deep. I fill that basin with about 4 gallons of water, I let it disappear, put in a 6" wood rod on the outer edge of the basin and it comes back wet, it may be more but I don't have a longer piece of wood. So assume it's only 6" that would mean 4 gallons per 6" deep? That would mean 20 gallons of water per tree? Is that really how much a tree needs? I am new to this, I hope you understand my questions.
Jul 11, 2021 6:17 PM CST
Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)

Ashap said:Daisy, the best I can calculate is that the basins are about 3 feet in diameter and 3" deep. I fill that basin with about 4 gallons of water, I let it disappear, put in a 6" wood rod on the outer edge of the basin and it comes back wet, it may be more but I don't have a longer piece of wood. So assume it's only 6" that would mean 4 gallons per 6" deep? That would mean 20 gallons of water per tree? Is that really how much a tree needs? I am new to this, I hope you understand my questions.

The amount of water needed depends on the size of the tree canopy (how many leaves it has) since water uptake is powered by transpiration and thus temperature and moisture level in the air. It's nigh impossible to put an exact figure on it, so aim for sufficient soil moisture by testing it as I mentioned before.
Jul 11, 2021 6:36 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
You will either need to find a longed stick (I use a bamboo plant stake) or dig a hole on the edge of the basin to see how far your 4" of water has penetrated.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Jul 11, 2021 7:09 PM CST
California
Ok, if I am understanding this correctly, if I am giving 4 or more gallons of water a day, and the water stops disappearing then that should mean the ground is saturated. The climate in Oxnard is very mild. Usually in the 60's and 70's, very little rain (still CA), but coastal fog and moisture. Last question, can you over
water?
Jul 11, 2021 7:12 PM CST
Name: Dr. Demento Jr.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
What size is the trunk of your tree?

The horticulture standard up here for trees up to 4 in. in diameter, 6 inches off of the ground is:
The diameter of the tree -- to 1.5 times the diameter of the trunk, in gallons, every day for two weeks after planting.
Last edited by RpR Jul 11, 2021 7:28 PM
Jul 11, 2021 7:19 PM CST
Name: John
Pomona/Riverside CA (Zone 9a)
You still wouldn't want to do that more than 3 times a week. Soil doesn't dry out that fast even here where it's been near 100 for the last week. I only water brand new bedding plants more often than 3 times a week.
“That which is, is.That which happens, happens.” Douglas Adams
Jul 11, 2021 8:56 PM CST
California
The Graniflora Magnolia is about two inches in diameter. The Arbutus Marina is a 1.5 inch diameter. The area around the trees seems very soggy as I walk on it. I have an irrigation drip that give 4 gallons per hour and it's on for 30 minutes every day. The Arbutus was showing signs of stress with yellowing leaves so I gave them 4 extra gallons. The trees were planted at the end of May. I want to thank everyone who is answering. You are very helpful.
Jul 12, 2021 3:01 PM CST
Name: Lee-Roy
Bilzen, Belgium (Zone 8a)

Ashap said:Ok, if I am understanding this correctly, if I am giving 4 or more gallons of water a day, and the water stops disappearing then that should mean the ground is saturated. The climate in Oxnard is very mild. Usually in the 60's and 70's, very little rain (still CA), but coastal fog and moisture. Last question, can you over
water?

Yes, you definately CAN over water, and the symptoms are the same as underwatering namely wilting/yellowing of leaves because the roots are rotting (water displaces air and thus oxygen). So it's easy to think your tree needs more water when in fact you're already drowning it.
Jul 12, 2021 3:19 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Drippers and basins? If the basin is filling before the drippers stop running, your soil isn't draining well so will stay wetter or you had already saturated the soil and it wasn't apparent to you. If the ground is soggy, the soil is no longer absorbing moisture, you have reached saturation. What did you see in your trees and plants to make you think they were underwatered?

Drip nozzles are notoriously untrustworthy. It may be rated for 4 gallons an hour but it may be delivering a lot more than that. Next time you water, put a bucket under a dripper and see how long it takes to fill. If you are using a 5 gallon bucket and 4 gallon per hour drippers, at the end of 30 minutes your bucket should be less than half full. I bet its overflowing in 10 minutes.

The point is Arico's point. You may think you are underwatering when in actuality, you have been overwatering. Now that you know for sure the ground is saturated, don't water until the ground starts to dry again. In your climate, that could be a week or more. Find a longer stick and use it to test the wetness/dryness of the soil before you water. And yes, too dry roots and too wet roots both cause tree stress and usually look exactly alike.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Jul 12, 2021 4:04 PM CST
California
I found a longer stick and it easily went 2 feet deep.
I measured the output of the drip line and it was giving about 9 oz of water in a minute.
In the beginning what I was told was to drip for 30 minutes, three days a week (6 gallons).
After a week or so, what I was seeing on the leaves was yellowing, and they were falling. So, as a novice, I figured the newly planted tree was dying. I upped the water and gave it 30 minutes every day (14 gallons).
It appears to be better, less yellow and new growth on branches.
I am still concerned regarding how soggy the area is and now I hear I could be drowning the roots.
My thinking is to cut back to 15 minutes per day and see if top soil becomes drier.
So my next two questions; Is daily watering necessary? If the top soil is dry, what does that mean for the depth of the water and soil? Again, thanks to all involved.
Jul 12, 2021 4:47 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
The idea is to keep the soil consistently damp, not wet and not dry. Every day is too much, the roots need to breath so allowing the soil to dry a bit lets in oxygen. Watering everyday smothers the roots and causes them to rot. But letting the soil dry too much causes the fine roots to die because they need moisture to stay alive and healthy. What you have to remember is you don't have to replace the water every day as its already there, just deeper in the soil. You have to add to the top every so often to keep those fine little feeder roots well oxygenated but also in damp enough soil to keep them plump and healthy.

The amount of dryness will depend upon the tree or plant. Trees do much better with infrequent but deep watering while herbaceous plants do better with more frequent watering. If you have everything on one drip system, you may have problems (depending upon what you are trying to grow). Arbutus does not like to be overwatered and will suffer quickly in wet soil while Grandiflora Magnolia does better in damper soil.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Jul 12, 2021 5:02 PM CST
California
That last reply was absolutely fantastic and very clear. Thank you all so much for your help
Jul 12, 2021 5:45 PM CST
Name: Dr. Demento Jr.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
From the University of Minn. (This is for trees)

When to water
Newly planted trees or shrubs require more frequent watering than established trees and shrubs. They should be watered at planting time and at these intervals:

1-2 weeks after planting, water daily.
3-12 weeks after planting, water every 2 to 3 days.
After 12 weeks, water weekly until roots are established.
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• Started by: Ashap
• Replies: 19, views: 469