How Often to Water Newly Planted Trees: Creating a Routine

When dealing with newly planted trees, one should pay careful attention to watering. If done incorrectly, watering trees may have two effects: too little water will stunt or kill the tree, and too much of it will drown it.

A newly planted tree spends much of its energy trying to make leaves at a time when its roots are still small. This makes them vulnerable to death when faced with stress. The heat of summer and cold of winter, or any prolonged season without frequent watering, constitute stress, as these conditions affect soil moisture.

For more information on how to water your young trees, contact the tree service experts in Fayetteville, AR.

When to Start Watering

Before Planting

Usually, young trees flourish in a nursery due to the controlled environment. The challenge begins during transplanting, and many trees do not survive the shock. While environmental factors like the wind and other living organisms could contribute to the stress, water remains the key variable.

Before the transplanting day, thoroughly water or soak the young tree’s entire root ball to get rid of air pockets and settle the soil. Soaking gives the root ball ample time to absorb moisture as it is usually dry and compacted.

Immediately After Planting

After transplanting, you should immediately begin proper watering of the young trees. Since a young tree’s roots only go as far as the root ball, you should be very particular about watering it. Watering should be deep and slow to saturate the entire root area, and you should use a soaker or a drip hose. 

How Much Water Do New Trees Need?

Immediately after planting, the tree should have two to three gallons of water per inch, depending on its trunk diameter. Thus, a tree with a two-inch trunk should receive four to six gallons immediately after planting. However, watering a new plant also depends on the prevailing season. 

A young tree needs around an inch of rain weekly during spring, equal to artificial watering for 10-15 minutes. Spring is crucial because it is the primary growing season for trees and the rainiest season in the US; thus, the risk of drowning a young tree is high. Experts recommend that you avoid watering on a rainy day or after it has rained.

During summer, the tree needs around two inches of weekly rain. This would be equal to 15-20 minutes of artificial watering. Therefore, it is best to water your trees frequently in the hotter months.

Young trees require only 5-10 minutes of artificial watering during fall and winter, as these are dormant seasons. Watering should only be done when temperatures are above 40 degrees.

Watering System Rule of Thumb

To determine a new tree’s weekly water requirements, you need to be aware of the flow rate and size of the area. The measure of the flow rate is in gallons per minute (GPM) from your hose. The measurement of the irrigation area is in square feet.

Here’s the formula for determining the rule of thumb for watering your trees:

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

In the above equation, 0.62 is the irrigation constant. Multiplying the irrigation constant by the size of the planting area turns the amount into gallons. You then get the length of time by dividing the gallon amount by the flow rate.

Tree Care Services in Arkansas

If you do not have a watering routine, your young trees may wilt or come up with stunted growth, putting them at severe risk of contracting infections in the long run. 

Contact Tree N Scapes Unlimited at (479) 802-5766 to learn more about tree diseases in Arkansas and for tips on how to care for your young trees.

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