What You Need to Know About Tree Watering

How to Deep Water a Tree | How Long to Deep Water a Tree | How Much to Water Trees | How to Water Trees During a Drought | How to Use Water Bags for Trees

During long periods without rainfall, trees can suffer and even die without timely watering.

The amount of water depends on a few factors, including the age and species of the tree, the time of year, weather and soil type. Newly planted and young trees tend to require more frequent watering than well-established trees. But during extended periods of drought, all trees benefit from supplemental watering.

How to Water Newly Planted Trees | How Often to Water a Newly Planted Tree | How Much to Water a Newly Planted Tree | How to Water a New Tree | How to Water Mature TreesWatering Newly Planted Trees

For the first several months after planting, most of a tree’s roots are still within the original root ball. The root ball and the surrounding soil should be kept evenly moist to encourage healthy root growth.

After a few months, you can expand the watering zone to cover the entire area under the canopy.

Watering Established Trees

The roots of well-established trees typically extend well beyond the edge of the canopy, or drip line.

When watering these trees, provide a deep, soaking irrigation to the entire area beneath the tree canopy and extend several feet beyond the drip line. To prevent rot, don’t apply water to the area directly around the trunk.

When to Water

To check your soil’s moisture, take a long (8″-plus) screwdriver and poke it into the soil. It will pass easily into moist soil, but be difficult to push into dry soil. If you can’t poke it in at least 6″, it’s time to water. The first visible symptom in trees that need water is temporary wilting.

How Long to Water Tree With Soaker Hose | How to Use a Soaker Hose to Water Trees | How to Deep Water Trees | How Long to Deep Water a Tree | How to Deep Root Water TreesWays to Apply Water

Depending on your needs, you have watering options.

Soaker Hose

Soaker hoses are an efficient way to water trees because they’re porous and release water slowly.

To install, you should encircle a tree with a spiral of soaker hose. Keep the soaker hose as flat as possible to avoid uneven watering. Run it for at least 30 minutes.

Eaton Brothers offers soaker hoses and accessories in a variety of sizes.

Tree Bags

Tree watering bags are good for young trees as they slowly release water over five to nine hours, allowing the moisture to soak into the soil instead of running off.

To install, wrap the bag around the trunk, tighten the zipper and pour water in it.

Eaton Brothers offers an easy-to-use 19-gallon bag.


Because grass will intercept much of the water you apply, mulch is your friend in tree watering. A 2″ to 3″ layer of mulch helps conserve moisture and keeps weeds at bay. To prevent rot, don’t pile mulch against the trunk.

How Much Water

As a general rule of thumb, apply enough for water to penetrate 6″ or 8″, using the screwdriver test. A common mistake is to apply frequent shallow waterings that don’t soak deeply into the soil.

At Eaton Brothers, we want trees to bring beauty, tranquility, shade and value to your property for years to come. It’s why we are committed to offering top quality care solutions to help you grow, treat and protect the trees on your property.