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How to water a newly planted tree

How to water a newly planted tree
Posted on 05/21/2021
hand spraying a garden hose

When adding a new tree to your yard, make sure it gets off to a strong start. Watering a newly planted tree is important during the first two or three years, but the amount of water it receives is even more crucial.

Typically, trees only need supplemental watering at the time of planting and during periods of drought from June to August. The other nine months out of the year, nothing usually needs to be done unless we experience abnormally dry conditions. Mother Nature will supply plenty of natural rainfall during that time.  

If you have an irrigation system and it runs at least two to three times a week, then additional watering is most likely not needed at all. Believe it or not, overwatering a newly planted tree can be just as detrimental to its survival as not watering at all.

Most yards in this area consist of compacted clay soils that do not drain well. If overwatered, the hole the tree was planted in can fill up like a bathtub and hold water for days — and sometimes even weeks. During this time, roots are deprived of oxygen, they begin to rot, and the tree will start to decline. It is common to see this when we remove a newly planted street tree that did not survive.

If you do not have an irrigation system and weather conditions are hot with inadequate rainfall for a week or so, then supplemental watering is most likely needed. Slowly applying approximately 25–30 gallons of water once a week is usually sufficient. During extreme heat and drought, you may need to do this a couple of times per week. Slow-release watering bags — also called gator bags — can be an excellent option for a newly planted tree.  

Learn more about tree care in Lenexa


Published May 21, 2021