Watering needs for new trees be posted on our website throughout the summer. Current status -Wet, Normal, Dry, or Very Hot and Dry- will be updated as conditions change. Please contact us if you have questions.
Watering Basics for New Trees
- In Central Virginia new trees need to be watered from May through October the first two years after planting.
- The ideal watering schedule for a new tree is once a week, unless there is at least one inch of rain.
- Watering once a month from May to October will reduce tree mortality during a typical summer, but will not necessarily produce a healthy tree.
- If you cannot water weekly through the entire watering season, increase watering frequency to once a week when the summer becomes very hot or dry.
- At least 15 gallons of water should be applied each time you water.
- These are general guidelines. There are many variables – soil type, planting location, tree species & season planted – that will influence watering needs. Check the soil near the root ball to determine when to water; the root ball should not dry out during the summer.
Summer Dos, Don’ts and Tips for Trees
- Do use organic mulches (wood chips, bark, etc) to conserve soil moisture and moderate soil temperature. Mulch should be 2 -4 inches deep and should never touch the trunk of the tree.
- Do not use inorganic mulches such as stones.
- Do pay more attention to trees near pavement or other hard surfaces since these trees experience more heat than those in the middle of a yard or landscaped area.
- Do water so that it soaks into the ground rather than running off.
- Deep watering is essential!
- Do not give small amounts of water. Even if this is done often, it does more harm than good. This encourages shallow roots that dry quickly.
- The best time to water mature trees is between late evening, at night , or very early morning. Trees replace the water they have lost during the day at night. Watering at night also reduces the amount of water lost to evaporation.
- Do not use fertilizers around trees during drought and be very cautious about the use of pesticides.
- Do not prune unless absolutely necessary.
- During drought and water restrictions, give trees priority over lawns. It takes many more years to grow a tree than a lawn. A lawn can become dormant and, if necessary, can be replaced in a season; it could take a lifetime to replace a large tree.
3 WAYS TO WATER TREES WATCH OUR VIDEO
Gator Bags and Ooze Tubes
Some of the newly planted street trees have gator bags or ooze tubes. Both have a space to insert a hose for easy filling; just fill and you are done. The water seeps out gradually and goes down to the root ball where it is most needed. Gator bags empty in 5 – 9 hours; ooze tubes may empty more slowly. Very little is lost to evaporation and none should be lost to runoff. Small holes can be easily repaired with duct tape. We recommend filling once a week.
Five gallon buckets with a few small holes drilled in the bottom can be used for watering trees too. Simply put the bucket next to the tree and fill it. Three buckets will provide the 15 gallon minimum or one bucket filled three times. Consider putting a rock or brick in the bucket to keep it from blowing into the street when it is empty and please remove the bucket as soon as possible when the water is gone.
Another simple method is just using a garden hose. Turn the hose on to a trickle or slow flow and leave it on long enough to deliver 15 gallons. Adjust the flow so that the water soaks in and does not run off; you may need to experiment a bit to get the flow just right. Move the hose occasionally so that all parts of the root ball get water.
To determine how long it takes to deliver the needed 15 gallons just place the hose in a 5 gallon bucket and turn it on to the same slow flow you use to water your tree. If the 5-gallon bucket fills in 10 minutes, you will need to water for 30 minutes to get about 15 gallons. Or use a gallon container and multiply by 15.