Any tree or shrub planted less than 12 months ago is susceptible to dry conditions and should be monitored for drought stress. Understanding how to properly water new trees and shrubs is important to ensure survival and optimize growing conditions for your recently installed plant material. Most established trees and shrubs in the landscape are more drought tolerant on their own and should not need supplemental irrigation except during summer droughts or other periods of very dry weather.

How often should I water a new tree?

When watering new trees and shrubs, spread out the watering between 3 or 4 watering cycles per week. New plantings should be irrigated immediately after installation and then every other day or so for the first couple of weeks. From then on for the next year, the trees and shrubs should be watered every 3-4 days, depending on natural rainfall. Aim to deliver the equivalent of 1 inch of rainfall per week, spread out over several watering sessions.

When is the best time of day to water new trees?

Early morning watering is the best time to water trees and shrubs. This will reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation in the heat of the day and allow the foliage to dry before nightfall. Ideally, water is delivered through a drip irrigation system to the root zone of the plant material only. If sprinklers are used, watering in the morning will allow the foliage to dry before nightfall. Continuously wet foliage overnight can lead to fungus and other problems.

How much water should I give a new tree?

Exactly how much water you give a new tree depends on the size of the tree. When watering new trees, aim for the equivalent of at least an inch of rain water a week, delivered to the root zone of the plant. It is best to water a few times a week, but thoroughly, as opposed to a light watering every day. The goal is to allow the water to soak as deep into the soil as possible to establish deep root growth, not surface root growth that will happen with frequent light waterings. Again, a drip irrigation system or soaker hose is the best way to deliver water slowly and allow it to soak into the soil instead of running off and draining away.

What do I do if I notice wilting or the tips of the leaves turning brown?

If you notice wilting or browning of the leaves on a new tree or shrub, this may mean the tree needs more water. Aim to provide the tree about an inch of water per week to keep the plant material thriving and healthy. Over watering is just as bad for a tree or shrub as no water, so be sure you are delivering the correct amount of water in the absence of rainfall.

Need help caring for your trees or have any more questions about landscaping maintenance? Contact J&J Landscape Management, Inc. today!