Growing Guide: Tree Watering

Tree Watering Basics

There are no specific timetables for watering new plants; requirements can vary from season to season and according to the local weather. In sunny, hot and/or windy locations plants will need more frequent watering than in more sheltered and protected locations. In addition, soils do not all drain at the same rate, so the watering schedule may be different in some parts of your yard than others. Slow-draining (clay) soils will require less frequent watering. Fast-draining (sandy) soils will need more frequent watering. Some of the native plants such as Yucca and Agave do not need watering as often as other plants. The following tree watering guide has some examples for varying conditions.

Establishing a New Tree

When you plant a new tree or shrub, it is making a new home in your yard so be sure to give it some time to adjust. Check it daily to create a watering schedule according to its needs.

Established Tree

As tree grows, water deeper and less frequently. It is important to water the tree deep enough.

Drip System

You will need different zones for your tree areas for deeper penetration for the root system. Trees will need longer periods of watering than your regular annuals and perennials.

How Much to Water

A good rule of thumb is that if the tree came in a 5# container, water it with 5 gallons of water each time.


To know if you are watering deep enough, measure with an item like a paint stick to show the water level. If the water level is above the root ball, you need to water more.

Invading Roots

To keep tree roots from invading the lawn, water your tree deep enough. If you do not, most root systems will get the water where it is easily accessible such as the surface of your lawn.