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Watering Trees: When, where, why and how much?

Watering trees for long-lasting healthy establishment

You’ve invested in some beautiful trees, lovingly planted them. Now what?  Don’t give into one of the biggest causes of tree failure by leaving your trees to fend for themselves once they’re in the ground.  Like most things in life, they need a little commitment in their early days and this will pay you back with healthy, well-established trees in the long run.  All they need from you is a little time, water and consideration.

We’ve come up with the Three Ws of Watering:


Watering Trees WhenIf you’ve planted during the winter, there is usually little need to water.  If it’s spring and your new tree is in full leaf, water it at least once a week.  A good rule of thumb is four cans per square metre.  This will give you a thorough wet tree zone around the roots.  You can usually tell by feeling how damp the soil is around the tree – if it’s been a really dry spell, you may want to up it to a twice weekly soak.  Don’t just rely on rainfall as it may not be absorbed by the soil.  Make sure you scrape back any leaves or mulch and feel the soil to check.  Reduce the water in your tree’s 2nd and 3rd years to encourage its roots to support themselves.


Watering Trees tree on a hillKnow your soil type too, as that has an effect on the absorption of your watering by the soil around your tree’s roots.  Exposed sites with sandy soil?  A little thirstier than a sheltered clay soil site.


aftercare for treesA thick organic mulch layer (10-15cm) will help keep the moisture where it’s needed – think bark chips or compost.  You get bonus nutrients seeping in from this organic matter and it helps suppress the weeds, too.  No competition for water, please!

For the full lowdown on aftercare, check our Help and FAQ section.

May 2017