Trees, towering fixtures in our landscapes, are often left unattended when they need water. Watering trees usually takes a back seat to watering flower beds, but its importance should not be overlooked. Trees are large plants and need plenty of water to maintain healthy growth.

Tree Soldiers have seen many trees suffer from drought stress. Unfortunately, symptoms of drought stress may not be evident for up to two years after the tree is not sufficiently watered. By then, yellow leaves on trees may indicate drought stress from the previous year or two rather than a problem of the current season. This is why proper watering is essential to keep trees healthy.

Anatomy of the root system of a tree

To fully understand the basic principles of watering trees, it is important to understand root structure and function.

Did you know that most tree roots are in the top 18 inches of soil and 50% of roots are in the top 6 inches?

Most trees have roots that extend far beyond the drainage canal or the outermost reaches of the branches.

Typically, 50% of tree roots occur in areas outside the drip line.

Some tree roots reach laterally a distance equal to the height of the tree.

Newly planted landscape trees grow (beyond the waterline) up to three times as many rooted branches in the first three years.

Large, woody tree roots protruding from the ground serve primarily to anchor the tree. The roots that conduct water and minerals but actually absorb the water are much smaller feeder roots.

How much water does a tree need?

Depends on the size of the tree. A general rule of thumb is 10 gallons of water per inch of tree diameter.

Small trees: up to 7 inches in diameter – up to 70 gallons of water (per watering).

Medium Trees: 8 to 15 inches in diameter – 80 to 150 gallons of water required

Large trees: over 16 inches in diameter – require over 160 gallons of water.

How this translates to how long it will take to water the tree:

Tree diameter x 5 minutes = Time taken to water the tree. If you have large trees, watering them with a garden hose can take quite some time. Tip from Tree Soldiers: Consider installing a soak hose or drip irrigation system as a time-saving option.

How often should I water my trees?

Newly transplanted trees require more water than older trees. During the first week, you should water daily. Water twice a week for the next 4 to 6 weeks. In case of insufficient rainfall, the tree should be watered every 7 to 10 days during summer.

Where should trees be watered?

Find. Walk until the outermost leaves are above your head. This is the drip line. Now look at the tree. Be sure to water well within the drip line.

Tips for watering trees:

Cut trees properly. Leaving dead, insect-infested, or diseased branches on the tree can damage the tree’s health and weaken it during drought.

Mulch trees to conserve water and control weeds that compete with trees for water. Use 4 inches of organic mulch extending to the drip line, but pulling it back 6 inches around the tree trunk.

Using an irrigation system on your lawn  or garden can also help water your trees.

For tree services, contact Tree Soldiers.

The experts at Tree Soldiers provide professional tree services to your home or business. Use our experience and request a quote for your wood work today!

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