Trees flourish when you take good care of them. To care for your tree, make sure it has enough water (good mulching can help your tree stay moist) and soil nutrients (which can be added through fertilizer if the soil is deficient). Inspect your tree regularly to monitor its health, and if you see any problems, be sure to take care of them quickly. Corrective pruning, when necessary, helps trees stay healthy.
How often should you water?
When rainfall amounts drop below the average, you can make up the difference through watering. Signs that your tree isn’t getting enough water include:
- changes in leaf color
- small or few leaves
- premature leaf fall
- Soaking the area around the tree or shrub helps the plant develop a healthy extensive root system. This means watering around the tree’s drip-line (an imaginary line extending from the outermost branch tips straight down to the ground), rather than just around the trunk.
- Slow saturation of the area is the best method of watering.
- During drought conditions, the soil may at first repel the water. Water lightly several times a day for the first day until the soil will accept the water. Then saturate the total area, applying sufficient water so that the soil is quite moist to a depth of at least 30 cm (12 inches). Fiber roots that are responsible for up take of nutrients are located in the top 30-40 cm (12-16 inches) of soil.
- Don’t create a constantly soggy condition under any tree because tree roots require oxygen in order to survive. The best way to water a tree is to apply a generous amount of water in one application, rather than providing a number of light watering. Once you have saturated the area, let it dry for at least a week before watering again.
- A newly planted tree should be watered once a week during drought conditions and half as often during normal conditions. Organic wood mulch will help to keep the root zone cool and retain water.
- The best time of day for watering a tree is early morning or evening