How often to water newly planted trees in summer

Watering Guidelines For Newly-Planted Trees • Rayzor's Edge Tree Service

If you planted a new tree this year (or even last fall), it will need careful attention to make it through the heat of summer and cold of winter. Young trees expend a lot of energy making leaves and their root systems are still small. As a result, the stress of hot summer weather or lack of winter water on newly-planted trees can be deadly without regular watering to help them get established. Learn how much water is needed, how often to water, and which factors affect a tree’s water needs.

Related information: How to Properly Plant a Tree >>

Water = Life for a Newly-Planted Tree

The first few years of a tree’s life are when it develops its anchoring and feeding root systems below ground, as well as the trunk and branch structure above ground. The more vigorous a young tree, the faster it can put out new leaves for photosynthesis (to generate internal energy stores) and develop its root system.

This early growth requires significant amounts of water, which isn’t always easy for a tree to “find” during the hot, dry summer months.

During a summer heatwave, a young tree that lacks sufficient water can become stunted and susceptible to pests and diseases at best, and die within days at worst.

Learn how to take care of your trees during summer here>>

Start Watering Your Tree BEFORE You Plant It

Proper watering starts when you plant the tree, beginning with the tree’s rootball. Be sure to thoroughly water the entire rootball when you remove it from its nursery container or unwrap the burlap from around it. Often, the soil within the rootball is dry (and sometimes compacted) and doesn’t easily absorb moisture from the surrounding soil unless it’s wetted before planting.

The goal with this first watering is to ease your new tree into its new home with as little stress as possible, ensuring a smooth establishment period.

Water Immediately After Planting

One good rule of thumb is to immediately irrigate a newly-planted tree with 2 to 3 gallons of water per inch of its trunk diameter. So a tree whose trunk is 2 inches in diameter when you plant it should be given 4 to 6 gallons of water right away.

A newly-planted tree’s roots only extend as far as the rootball. Any water in the soil that’s beyond the reach of the tree’s rootball can’t be absorbed. And since that rootball isn’t very large when the tree is first planted, it’s critical to provide enough water around the rootball. Without that nearby water, a young tree in a summer heatwave especially vulnerable.

Sufficient watering is also important if the soil you’ve planted your young tree in is already on the dry side. The dry soil will automatically pull water from the wetter rootball to balance the water distribution where the two materials (rootball and native soil) meet, leaving the tree without enough moisture.

If your young tree is planted among other trees or shrubs, watering is important because the roots of these other, established plants will compete for water with your new tree.

And most importantly, you’ll want to water low and slow. This slow infiltration rate gives the young tree’s roots a longer period to take up water and allows water to move deep into the soil, which is where you want your tree to develop its roots. Shallow watering encourages shallow root development, leaving the tree unstable and susceptible to dry conditions.

Rule of Thumb for Watering a Young Tree After Planting

How much water a young tree needs will depend on several factors. There’s no single answer to this question but there’s a helpful rule of thumb that serves as a good starting point –

Give your young tree 1 ½” to 2” of water a week.

But how do you measure that?

This is where calculating how much to water your young tree gets more complicated.

Here comes the math!

To figure out how to get 2” of water to your new tree each week, you need to know two things:

  1. the flow rate (in gallons per minute or GPM) at your hose bibb or irrigation emitter, and
  2. the size (in square feet) of the area you’re going to irrigate (this should be the area under the tree reaching all the way out to the edge of the canopy).

Then plug those numbers into this formula –

# of minutes of watering = (0.62 x area of coverage (sf)) / flow rate (GPM)

  • The first number, 0.62, is the irrigation constant. It represents 1” of water over 1 square foot of soil.
  • To turn that amount into gallons, multiply the irrigation constant by the size of the area that you’re irrigating (for example, 100 sf of planting area x .62 = 62 gallons)
  • Then divide that number by the flow rate (GPM) of your hose bibb to get the length of time you’ll need to run water (example: 62/2 GPM = 31 minutes of watering).

If your head’s already exploding, don’t worry! An experienced irrigation designer will do the calculations for you as part of installing a new system, or as an addition to your existing irrigation system’s valves.

If you want to DIY your tree watering with a garden hose or by placing a soaker hose around the tree, you can easily get a flow meter for your hose bibb to calculate its flow rate. IMPORTANT: Set the flow rate you want for your tree (a slow trickle) before measuring it – do not measure at its maximum flow.

Whatever method you use to water your newly-planted tree, remember that it will need irrigation until fall’s cool weather and rainfall arrive with the shorter hours of sunlight. If dry weather persists through fall, continue to water.


Don’t forget to mulch! Mulching your newly-planted tree is one of the best things you can do for it.

A 3” layer of organic mulch (organic means made of organic matter like wood chips or ground-up bark) helps your tree through hot summer weather in several ways:

  • Insulating the soil and regulating its temperature
  • Slowing water evaporation from the soil
  • Suppressing the weeds that would otherwise steal water for their own growth
  • Enriching the soil’s water-holding capacity as it breaks down

And, as you know, always keep mulch away from your tree’s trunk.

Other Factors Affecting a Young Tree’s Water Needs

Beyond the rules of thumb listed above, the water needs of your young tree are affected by many factors, including:

Tree Species and Size

It’s a good idea to know the general water needs of the trees you choose before planting them.

  • Different species of trees have different transpiration rates, meaning they need different amounts of water and take up water by their roots at different rates. Trees that have evolved to withstand windy, coastal conditions are very different from trees that evolved in humid, rainforest, or subtropical conditions.
  • Rootball size at planting determines water use. If you are planting more mature trees with larger rootballs, remember that in addition to their larger rootballs they will most likely have larger crowns with more branches and leaves to support. The stress of transplanting can cause trees to drop some or all of their leaves, so be sure to provide enough water to minimize transplanting stress.


Is the tree in full sun or in a windy location? Is it in a low spot or where there’s shade? Are you planting your new tree on a slope? The specifics of a tree’s surroundings are important to its water uptake needs.

  • A low spot in part shade will most likely lose water more slowly than a spot that’s in full sun, because of slower evaporation.
  • The top of a slope will lose water most quickly because of gravity pulling the water down the slope and through the soil.
  • A windy spot will increase the transpiration rate of a tree, as the water that’s released by a tree’s stomata (openings on the underside of leaves that release water) will evaporate more quickly when wind blows it away. This means the tree needs more water, faster, to be transferred from its root system to its crown to keep its transpiration balanced.


Are there many other trees and shrubs around your new tree? How about lawn or flower beds?

  • Competition by your plants for water is real! You’ll want to supply enough water to keep everyone’s roots healthy.


Outdoor temperatures and hours of sunlight are directly related to how much water a tree of any size needs.

  • The hotter it is, the more water a tree’s roots will take up.
  • The longer the hours of sunlight, the more time that tree will spend taking up water each day.

Soil Texture

The kind of soil your tree is planted in is also important. Soil has a natural texture, defined by the percentages of its components, and that texture determines how fast water will run through it.

  • Sandy soil drains water very fast, sometimes too fast for tree roots to be able to take up all the moisture they need.
  • Clay soil can be slow to absorb water and can hold water for long periods of time. Clay soil can become waterlogged, essentially “drowning” your tree.
  • Loam soil has the best water-holding capacity for most landscape plants and is ideal for most trees.
  • Urban fill soil may be made up of any or everything, so its water-holding capacity isn’t known without a soil analysis.

If you’re curious about your soil, the University of Connecticut’s soil testing lab offers soil testing that will tell you what your soil is made of and how it’s classified by texture. Understanding your soil type will give you a more precise idea of how much and how often you’ll need to water your newly-planted tree.

Soil Depth

To add to the complexity of water, soil, and trees, your soil’s depth is also important to how much water you’ll need for your young tree. Shallow soil just can’t hold the volume of water that deep soil can so your young tree’s roots will need more frequent watering.

Testing your soil will also tell you about its nutrient levels and if, or how much, you’ll need to amend your soil to ensure healthy tree growth. Soils in our area of Connecticut (and New England in general) can be shallow and nutrient-poor.

In Summary

As you can see, there isn’t one simple answer to the question “How much water should I give my newly-planted tree?”. When you water and how much you provide will vary depending on a wide variety of factors.

However, the general tree watering guidelines are:

  1. Water the rootball before planting
  2. Give 2 to 3 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter right after planting
  3. Provide 1 ½ to 2 inches of water each week throughout the summer and fall until temperatures cool

If you’d like help figuring out the best way to water your new tree, give us a call!

Our arborists can arrange a soil test for your property, explain how and why you might need to amend your soil, suggest ways to set up or change your irrigation schedule or method to best suit your tree and its location, and ensure your newly-planted tree receives all that it needs for long-term health.


Watering Newly Planted Trees - How To Keep Young Trees Healthy!

How and when you water newly planted trees plays a huge role in not only a tree’s survival, but its long-term health as well.

The first few years of a tree’s life are critical in building and establishing a strong, healthy root system. A tree’s roots, much like any plant, are its major lifeline.

A newly planted tree requires frequent watering to establish a strong, healthy root system.

Not only do roots soak up nutrients and moisture, they also help to anchor the tree against mother nature. A weak root system leads to poor plant health, and one that will have trouble standing up against strong winds and storms.

Here is a look at how and when to water newly planted trees for success, along with how best to continue watering trees as they mature.

Whether it be a fruit tree, ornamental tree, or a classic shade tree, a newly planted tree requires frequent watering. And that watering needs to start right at the time of planting!

All newly planted trees require frequent watering after planting to help set roots and keep stress levels low.

Transplanting is stressful for any plant, but especially so with trees. And it’s vital to keep the root ball well-watered to keep the plant hydrated, and keep that stress to a minimum.

Watering at Planting Time

When planting, the root ball needs fully hydrated before covering with soil. The best way to do this is to place the root ball into the hole and fill with water.

Before filling in with soil, the root ball should be thoroughly soaked.

Once the water has soaked in and drained from the hole, cover with soil and water in once more.

Watering Newly Planted Trees

Once trees have been planted, they should be watered every other day for the first few weeks. Trees are best planted in the cooler temperatures of spring and fall, but if planted in the summer, daily watering may be needed for the first two weeks to combat the additional heat.

The amount of water should be based upon the size of the trees trunk. A good rule of thumb for newly planted trees is 5 gallons of water for every inch in diameter of the trunk.

Watering bags are a great way to water trees with a slow, steady supply.

After a few weeks, cut back watering to once a week as the plant begins to set it’s roots. It is important to avoid over-watering at the point too, as it can prevent the roots from searching into the surrounding soil and taking hold.

One of the best ways to water young trees is with a 5 gallon bucket with a few holes poked in the bottom. The slow release lets the water have time to soak in, and not simply run off. Tree Watering Bags are a great solution as well, as they allow the water to release slowly over time.

Dormant Watering

One of the biggest mistakes made with new trees is not providing water to their roots when trees are dormant.

Watering during dormant periods is vital to a tree’s overall health.

Young trees, especially trees that have been in the ground for 2 or less years, require watering even when the tree is overwintering. As long as temperatures remain above freezing, water trees every few weeks through dormant periods.

If the ground freezes or temps drop below freezing, watering is not necessary.

Watering Year 2 And Beyond

As a young tree continues to grow and mature, proper watering is still vital to the trees overall health and success.

Trees that have been established for one to three years should still be watered during extended dry and or extremely hot periods. Most trees require an average of an inch of rain every week to 10 days. If Mother Nature is not providing that, it’s time to water.

Once a tree has matured a bit and has become fully established (usually around 4 to 5 years), it will rarely if ever require watering. The only exception would be during an extreme drought or extended heat wave.


Last but not least, mulch those trees! When it comes to conserving moisture around newly planted and young trees, mulch is absolutely critical.

Mulch immediately at the time of planting to help keep water in, and competing weeds out. The mulch should be 4 to 6 inches deep, and cover at minimum the extended root ball area.

Mulching newly planted trees is a critical step to success. Mulch not only suppresses competing weeds, it conserves valuable moisture.

Shredded hardwood is an excellent choice, but straw and other mulches will work too. Do not use rock mulches initially as they will heat up from the sun and dry out the soil below.

Here is to watering for success! For more on adding trees to your landscape, check out our article Adding Fruit Trees To Your Landscape.

This Is My Garden is a website dedicated to spreading the love and knowledge of gardening around the world. We publish two new garden articles each week. This article may contain affiliate links.

How to properly water trees and bushes in the garden

All plants in the garden need moisture. Fruit trees and shrubs are no exception in this regard. The only question is how to properly water these plants? Let's figure it out.

Young plants are watered first when planting. Further, the seedlings need moisture so that they take root faster, develop and prepare for the formation of fruits. A fertile garden also requires watering - to form a quality crop.

How much water does the garden need? It is very difficult to answer this question right away, since a lot depends on the weather, the condition of the soil, as well as the age and needs of the plant. Therefore, it is impossible to water all crops in the same way, as many gardeners do. How will be correct?

When is the first watering of horticultural crops?

Usually it is enough to water the trees in the garden 2-3 times during the summer season, and 3-4 times in dry weather. At the same time, specimens that have just been planted are recommended to be watered 2-3 times a month for better survival. The first watering is carried out at the end of May - the first half of June, depending on the crop.


First watering time

Strawberries, currants, gooseberries

Late May - early June

Apple tree

Early June

Plum, cherry plum, cherry, pear

First half of June


Before sap flow, before bud break

Irrigation rate for fruit trees

When irrigating trees , the water rate changes depending on the age of the crop:

  • seedling - 30-50 liters of water;
  • 3-5 year old trees - 50-80 l;
  • 7-12 year olds - 120-150 liters;
  • older - 30-50 liters per 1 sq. m of the trunk circle.

Under berry bushes it is necessary to pour 40-60 liters of water per 1 sq.m. Strawberries are watered at the rate of 20-30 liters per 1 sq.m (during the formation of the crop).

But it is important to understand that there are many conditions that should be taken into account when watering the garden. For example, it is necessary to take into account the composition of the soil on the site. On sandy soil, the number of irrigations should be increased, and the water rate should be reduced. At the same time, on a clay substrate, the irrigation rules change exactly the opposite. It is also worth paying attention to the landscape features of the backyard territory: if the water flows down the slope, the plants in the garden may not receive the amount of moisture they need.

Features of watering plants during the season

Apple and pear

These crops require abundant watering in May-July and moderate watering in August-September. If the summer is hot, water the apple tree and pear 3-4 times per season, and if it is also dry, 4-5 times.

Plum and cherry plum

Stone fruits are quite demanding on soil and air moisture. Most of all they need watering in spring and in the first half of summer. And plums, among other things, equally poorly tolerate both lack and excess moisture.


It is enough to water the grapes once a month, and if it rains, even less often. The main thing is not to water superficially, but so that water flows to the roots, for example, you can dig an irrigation tube into the ground. Grapes are not watered before flowering and during it.


Cherries should not be watered too often: water compacts the soil and displaces oxygen from it. Four waterings per season is enough: during the active growth of shoots at the end of June, during the ripening of berries in July (in dry weather) and at the end of the season (the last decade of September).

Gooseberry, currant

Gooseberry bushes should be watered under the root. You can make special grooves so that water does not spread over the surface, but goes directly to the roots. Water should penetrate to a depth of about 50 cm. Both plants need to be watered three times per season, especially during the formation of berries.


During fruiting and in dry summers, strawberries are watered more often, sometimes once every 7-10 days. If the soil around the bushes is dry and crumbles in your hands, it's time to water the strawberries.

Many gardeners make the mistake of watering their plants often but little by little. Such watering will not bring much benefit, since moisture does not reach the roots of horticultural crops, but remains in the upper layers of the soil. At the same time, the bulk of the roots of fruit trees is at a depth of 50-70 cm.

Basic garden watering methods

Surface watering

This type involves watering in the near-stem circles. To carry it out under the trees, you need to organize recesses with sides to get the so-called "bowl". The diameter of the near-stem circle should be equal to the diameter of the crown, so it can change every year.

Trees can also be watered in furrows. This method is suitable for a flat area where all the trees grow side by side. To do this, furrows up to 30 cm wide should be cut between the rows, into which water can be supplied when irrigated from a hose. After the water has been absorbed, the furrows must be covered.


With this method of irrigation, not only the soil is moistened, but also the air around the plants, and sometimes the green mass. The main condition for such irrigation is a constant pressure of water, which does not flow in a continuous stream, but is sprayed in the form of an aqueous suspension. Sprinkling is good for sloping areas, because such irrigation does not erode the topsoil (the most fertile). But this is also a more expensive method of irrigation, since for its implementation it is necessary to purchase special equipment.

Subsurface irrigation

In this method of irrigation, water is supplied through pipes laid in the ground directly to the roots of plants. At the same time, water consumption is reduced by 3 times, which is a significant plus. But subsoil irrigation also has a minus: laying pipes is a laborious and costly process. But when watering through pipes, it is not necessary to cut furrows and loosen the soil.

Proper watering of plants is the key to a rich harvest, so do not treat this activity with disdain. Each culture requires attention during care, including irrigation with water.

how much water trees need in a garden

As you know, moisture is the basis of nutrition for any plant. Young seedlings need timely watering in order to take root in a new place as quickly as possible, and for already fruit-bearing trees, proper watering is the key to a quality future harvest.

Read on to find out when and how to water trees, how much water they need depending on their age, what is the rate and frequency of watering.

By the way! All the basic principles and rules for watering apple trees and other fruit trees are the same.


  • 1 How often and how much to water the trees
    • 1.1 Type of soil
    • 1.2 Age of wood
    • 1.3 Weather conditions and season
    • 2 How to water trees properly

    How often and how much to water trees

    It is important to understand that there are many conditions to consider when watering.

    As a rule, the following factors (conditions) are distinguished, which directly determine how often to water and how much water to pour under apple trees and other fruit trees:

    • type (composition) of soil;
    • age;
    • weather and time of year.

    Soil type

    It's simple: if the soil is heavy, then it retains moisture better, if it is light, then water does not linger at all. Accordingly:

    • On clay and chernozem soils - water 1-2 times a month in summer, no more than 1 time in spring and autumn.
    • On sandy soils - 2-4 times a month in summer, and in spring and autumn - 1-2 times.

    Please note! To saturate an earthen clod to the required depth (on average 40 cm), light sandy loamy soil needs about 1.5 times less water than heavy loam.

    Age of the tree0071 15-20 liters for 1 year ie:

    However! Please note that stone fruits (cherries, cherries, plums, peaches, apricots) are less moisture-loving than pome trees (apples, pears) . At the same time, the frequency of irrigation remains unchanged, but the amount of water should differ (1.5-2 times).

    For example, on the Internet you can find the following picture:

    • 2-3 year old seedling - 30-60 liters;

    Please note! It is especially important to monitor the humidity in the first year after planting, especially if it is done in the spring. You need to water often and little by little (every week or 10 days, 20-30 liters each). If you notice that the leaves have begun to wither, then urgently perform intensive watering.

    • 4-5 year old tree - 60-100 liters;
    • 6-7 fruit tree - 90-140 liters;
    • 8-10 year old mature tree - 120-200 liters.

    Tip! Very many gardeners believe that the main criterion for a plant to have enough water is moisture and moisture stagnation on the soil surface. In other words, if you are pouring, and the water is no longer leaving, this means that it is time to stop watering.

    Weather conditions and seasons

    Trees are never additionally watered in early spring because during this period the ground is still wet after winter (snow melting). Therefore, the first spring watering is carried out only in April-May during budding (before flowering) - it is enough to water 1 time.

    If the summer is very hot and dry (there is no precipitation at all, it is clear all the time), the air temperature rises to +30 degrees and above, then young trees planted recently , it is advisable to water 2 times a week. If the summer is cool, there are occasional rains , then once a week will be more than is enough.

    Of course, mature and fruit-bearing trees do not need to be watered so often , maximum 2 times a month in case of extreme heat and 1 time in moderate summer .

    Approximate schedule for watering mature trees
    1. During budding (before flowering) - in spring (April-May).
    2. After flowering (after 2-3 weeks) - in summer (June).
    3. During fruiting (up to 2-3 weeks of ripening) - in summer (July-August).
    4. Autumn water-recharging watering after leaf fall (October-November).

    Thus, most often during the summer season (from May to August), it is enough to water mature trees in the garden 3-4 times, and in dry weather - 4-5 times. And do not forget, if possible, to make water-charging watering, but already in late autumn.

    Autumn water recharge

    Please note! Read in this separate article about the subtleties, timing and necessity of water-charging irrigation in autumn .

    How to properly water trees

    Tips and recommendations for proper watering of apple trees and other fruit trees: 20-25 cm), take a handful of earth from the bottom, if it is dry, then immediately water it.

  • As for the time of day, then it is ideal to water the trees in the early morning , it is possible in the evening, but during the day it is very undesirable, only if the weather is cloudy.
  • For the convenience of watering and initial water retention, you need to make rollers according to the projection of the crown of your tree about 10 centimeters high.

The trunk circle must match the size of the projection of the crown of your tree.

In general, ideally, you need to water along the crown projection, but this is not necessary, although it is very desirable. However, should not be poured under the barrel in any case .

  • Watering with ice water from a well or well is clearly not a good idea. Too cold water affects all plants depressingly. Another thing is ordinary country water (with a temperature of 16-20 degrees).

But during autumn moisture-charging irrigation, you can use water from a well.

If the soil is constantly wet, then the roots of the fruit tree may begin to rot from an excess of moisture.

  • In other words, you must follow the watering schedule . It is necessary to water rarely, but abundantly, in order to soak the entire root ball (up to 30-50 cm deep).

In case of sudden changes in humidity (sometimes too dry, sometimes too wet), young trees can throw off their leaves.

  • Late spring or early autumn precipitation, especially summer rains in no case can replace the individual watering of the tree. Even when there is a relatively long and fairly heavy rain, as a maximum, it will only moisten the surface layer of the soil (by 3-5 cm), but not the necessary 40 cm.

Another thing is late autumn, winter, early spring.

Learn more