How to Water Trees: When & How Often

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Trees are the cornerstone of a happy yard. Just like any other essential part of your landscaping, however, they need to be properly cared for in order to thrive. When you learn how to water trees properly — especially multiple trees at once — you’ll find it much easier to keep your entire yard looking and growing its best.

What is the Best Way to Water My Trees?

The best way to irrigate and properly water your trees is by taking into account the age of your trees and adjusting your technique accordingly.

  • Young, newly planted trees still have most of their roots inside the original root ball. This means that before a minimum of two growing seasons have passed, you should water all the soil under the tree’s canopy. That will keep the root ball and surrounding area moist enough to boost healthy growth. This should be done two or three times a week, depending on how dry and hot your climate is.
  • Established trees require slightly different watering practices than newly planted ones. You’ll want to water further to account for the reach of their roots — stopping at the dripline instead of the canopy. The dripline is the wide hand around the outer reaches of a tree’s canopy. It’s recommended to go 2-3 feet beyond this perimeter and water in a circular motion all the way around every 1-2 weeks.

A good rule of thumb when considering how long or how often to water your trees is to treat any tree under the age of two as twice as needy as any of its established counterparts. Younger trees need more water, for longer, more often. As they age and become more rooted in their surroundings, trees also become more capable of retaining moisture.

How Do I Water Multiple Trees at Once?

The best way to water multiple trees at once is with drip irrigation. There are several key advantages to this method:

  • Less wasted water. Drip irrigation systems can deliver water directly to the zones most in need, minimizing run-off.
  • No wet leaf worry. Overhead watering methods get water everywhere, including on fallen foliage that can then become susceptible to fungus and other issues. Drip irrigation only delivers water to the areas that need it most when they need it most.
  • Low maintenance. Once you finish the initial set-up, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to successfully water multiple trees at once with drip irrigation.

It’s important to note that your system’s success will depend on proper planning in order to ensure uniform water distribution and avoid over or underwatering. Depending on how many trees your yard has, you may need a professional who can help design your ideal layout.

Is There Any Technology I Can Use to Make It Easier to Water My Trees?

The best way to irrigate trees effectively is with help from high-tech soil sensor technology.

For example, Toro’s Precision™ Soil Sensor can save up to 30% on annual irrigation water use by consistently assessing moisture levels and informing users as soon as their soil needs water.

Additional benefits include:

  • Saving on water and energy costs by stopping connected irrigation systems from running when soil reaches a predetermined wetness threshold
  • Freeze detection capabilities that prevent irrigation systems from running when frigid weather is expected — protecting both the system and the trees it’s watering from avoidable damage
  • The ability to work with a wide variety of irrigation controller brands to flexibly meet needs

The right irrigation technology is the best way to ensure your trees stay properly watered year round. With Toro, that includes systems that work with soil sensors like the EVOLUTION® Series Controller with SmartConnect® — an ideal solution for those who want healthy trees but prefer having an added level of on-the-go control over watering schedules and sensors.

Want to learn more about keeping your entire landscape looking its best — from trees to flowers, bushes to grass? Toro YardCare offers a wide variety of helpful articles, videos and more.

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