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The best Way to Water Your Trees – A Complete Guide


Watering is obviously a key aspect of keeping your trees and plants healthy and you can’t always rely on rainfall all year round. There’s definitely a correct way to water your trees and it can be quite tricky to do correctly so we’re going to look at how to water your trees the right way.

Check the Current Moisture Level

This is the first thing you should do as it will dictate the amount of watering required. Simply dig a few inches down into your tree’s soil a few feet from the trunk and grab a handful of dirt. If the soil:

  • Easily crumbles out of your hand then your tree requires moisture
  • Sticks to your hand then your tree has sufficient water
  • Drips between your fingers then your tree has too much

Newly Planted v Established Trees

Depending on when your tree was planted will tell you its watering needs. A newly planted tree cannot spread its roots early on, its original root ball will be maintained for a few months and so will require more water for the roots to settle and start to grow. Watering during these first few months should be done 3 – 4 times a week during the drier months and less so in wetter months.

Established trees on the other hand will require less, and larger trees can have a root system larger than their canopy so it’s important not to just water around the trunk.

How to Water

Correctly watering means the water is reaching the roots, this is known as “deep watering”. Just watering the surface or too quickly will lead to run-off and evaporation so it won’t reach the roots. Don’t just water near the trunk either as mentioned above. As Arborists, here are some ways to slowly get water to the roots:

Install a drip irrigation system – This is the trickiest and most expensive (they can be automated) but is the most effective. Better for lines of multiple trees and water-efficient.

Slow trickle with a hose – Set your hose to a trickle using an end section with holes in it. Leave at least 45 mins in each area.

Sprinkler – The most common option as they are cheap and easy to use while covering a large area. Needs to be left on longer as a lot tends to get evaporated.

Bucket – Use a large plastic bucket and drill some holes in the bottom. Simple and affordable.

Additional Watering Tips

  • Mulching is great for holding the moisture and preventing evaporation. 2 – 3 inches deep and as wide as the canopy is perfect. Don’t pile it up near the trunk though.
  • Water in the mornings, there is less heat so you’ll get less evaporation whilst protecting your tree from the hotter parts of the day
  • Keep your watering regular to avoid tree stress