Watering trees

How Much Should I Water My Trees & Shrubs?

Trees and shrubs can be easy to care for, but you still need to give them attention to make sure they grow and thrive. Proper care includes watering, and many property owners aren’t giving their trees and shrubs the right amount of water at the right times. 

In those first few weeks, watering the proper amount is essential – both over and under watering can be fatal to a new planting. How much water should your trees and shrubs get?

How Much Should I Water My Trees & Shrubs?

 

Watering treesWater daily for the first week, then twice a week for the next month, gradually reducing it until you are watering every seven to 14 days. Continue this trend for the first two years of the plant’s life on your property. You must water a new tree or shrub immediately after planting, as this reduces air pockets and settles the soil. Until the plant has developed strong roots in the spot you’ve chosen, it’s up to you to make sure that it gets the water it needs. 

Water must penetrate deep into the soil and reach all the roots of your new tree or shrub; as such, the soil should always feel slightly moist and cool but not wet. The best way to ensure proper coverage is by using a drip or soaker hose on the ground circling the plant. If you don’t have one, take the nozzle off your garden hose and place the hose 30 to 60 centimetres from the base of the plant, keeping it on a slow trickle and moving the hose regularly for even coverage around the base.

Using a sprinkler can be ineffective, as most of the water will evaporate before soaking into the soil. It can also cause excessive moisture to accumulate on the leaves, making them a target for disease.

 

How Much Is Too Much Water?

 

The signs of overwatering can look much like underwatering or problems related to pests, disease, or winter salt use. Symptoms can include yellow leaves that droop or fall off. If you think you may be overwatering, feel your soil to a depth of five centimetres below the surface to see if it’s wet. Do not water until the soil feels dry or slightly damp again.

Pay attention to the soil around the plants. If the ground does not drain well and water puddles around the base of the tree or shrub, you may need to reduce the duration and frequency of watering.

 

When Should I Water?

 

TreesFor the first two years of the plant’s life, water for 15 to 20 minutes twice a week during the growing season if there has been no rain. After three years, your trees and shrubs shouldn’t need regular watering except during extreme drought (which could be as little as two weeks without rain). If your area hasn’t had rain in a while – and you aren’t under watering restrictions – give your tree or shrub one hour of water once a week. 

Always try to water early in the morning; the low sun won’t evaporate the moisture too quickly, and the heat of it later will take care of excess water before it can become a problem. Watering at night will let the moisture sit on the plant, attracting insects and fungal growth.