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The watering of new trees is extremely important to their future viability. The type of soil and weather conditions will have an effect on how much and how often you water. Watering deeply, thoroughly, and only as needed will encourage a deep and healthy root system that better withstands environmental stresses.
Newly planted trees should be watered 1-2 times per week during dry periods in the spring, summer and fall months. Trees planted within the last 5 years should be watered once every 1-2 weeks. While mature trees are better able to cope with dry weather, they will also benefit greatly from supplemental watering during extended dry periods.
The following options are effective for delivering a weekly watering:
- Turn your hose on to a very light trickle and water for 1 hour at a time at each of the 4 corners of the tree.
- Wrap a soaker hose around the base of the tree, at least a foot away from the trunk, and water for 6 to 8 hours at a low flow rate.
- If you do not have a hose that will reach the tree, you can use a 5 gallon bucket with holes drilled in the bottom to slowly release a total of 25 gallons of water around the base of the tree. Fill the bucket 5 times and let the water drain in different spots within the dripline of the tree.
- Wrap a watering bag around the tree and fill it up (picture at right). They are easy to fill, inexpensive, and available at most garden centers.
- Mature trees will require a greater volume of water than newly planted trees. Watering with a hose set to a trickle or a soaker hose in many locations under the drip line for 8 hours or more will provide a beneficial soaking to the tree's root zone.
The video below demonstrates these techniques and offers more information about the benefits of watering:
For more information about tree watering consult the following PDFs:
Watering Drought Stressed Trees
Trees and Drought
|Adding several inches of mulch around your new tree will help retain soil moisture, temperature and inhibit the growth of weeds.
Be sure to add 2-4" of mulch, and refrain from piling mulch around the stem of the tree. Additional moisture around the stem will encourage roots to grow and may lead to stem girdling roots, a common cause of mortality in trees planted too deep.
Free mulch is often available at the Ramsey County yard waste sites in Saint Paul during the summer.
For availability call: (651) 633-EASY
visit their website at: Ramsey County
Fertilizing Your Trees
If you choose to fertilize a tree, keep a few things in mind (not all trees will require fertilizer). Trees do most of their growing in the spring so it is best to fertilize in the fall, after the tree has lost its leaves, or in the spring, before the buds begin to develop.
Do not apply nitrogen fertilizer in the late summer. This could prevent the tree from going into dormancy in the winter. Water the area well before and after applying fertilizer. Remember, follow all directions carefully, store or dispose of leftovers properly, and do not over-fertilize.
Additional Care Resources