Practical Tips for Tree Watering and Irrigation

by Paul Thomas - / 03.07.2024


Watering is one of the most fundamental aspects of tree care. Proper hydration ensures the health, growth, and longevity of trees, making it essential to understand the best practices for tree watering and irrigation. As expert tree surgeons, we have encountered numerous instances of both overwatering and underwatering, which can lead to detrimental effects on trees. In this blog, we will share practical tips and valuable advice on tree watering and irrigation, helping you maintain healthy and thriving trees on your property.

Understanding the Water Needs of Trees

The water requirements of trees can vary significantly based on their species, age, size, and climate they are in. Young trees typically require more frequent watering, as their root systems are not yet fully established. As trees mature, their root systems expand, enabling them to access water from deeper soil layers. Consulting with a tree surgeon or local arborist can help you determine the specific water needs of the trees on your property.

Time of Day Matters

The best time to water trees is early in the morning or late in the evening. Watering during these cooler parts of the day reduces water loss due to evaporation and allows the tree to absorb water more efficiently. Avoid watering during the hottest hours of the day, as the water may evaporate before the tree’s roots can take it up.

Water Deeply and Infrequently

A common mistake many make is shallow and frequent watering, which encourages shallow root growth and makes trees more susceptible to stress during drought conditions. Instead, water trees deeply and less frequently. This practice promotes deep root growth, helping the tree access water stored in the soil during drier periods.

Utilise Soaker Hoses or Drip Irrigation

Soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems are highly efficient methods for delivering water directly to the tree’s root zone. These systems minimise water wastage and reduce the likelihood of overwatering. Place the hoses or emitters near the tree’s drip line, where the majority of the active roots are located.

Monitor Soil Moisture

Keeping an eye on the soil moisture levels around your trees is crucial. Stick a finger or a soil moisture probe into the ground near the tree’s roots to gauge the moisture level. If the soil feels dry at a depth of 4-6 inches, it’s time to water. Conversely, if the soil feels consistently wet, you may be overwatering.

Consider Rainfall and Weather Conditions

Adjust your watering schedule based on the amount of rainfall and prevailing weather conditions. During rainy periods, you may need to reduce or suspend watering temporarily. Conversely, during drought or extremely hot periods, you may need to increase watering frequency.

Mulch for Moisture Retention

Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree helps retain soil moisture, regulates temperature, and suppresses weed growth. Mulching also enriches the soil as it breaks down over time. However, be careful not to pile mulch against the tree trunk, as it can lead to trunk rot.

Use a Tree Watering Bag for Young Trees

For newly planted or young trees, consider using a tree watering bag. These bags slowly release water over several hours, ensuring consistent moisture for the tree’s roots. They are especially helpful during dry spells when young trees are most vulnerable to water stress.


Proper watering and irrigation practices are vital for the health and vitality of your trees. By understanding the specific water needs of different trees, watering deeply and infrequently, and utilising efficient irrigation methods, you can ensure your trees thrive in every season. Regular monitoring of soil moisture, adjusting watering based on weather conditions, and incorporating mulch as a moisture-retaining measure will contribute to the overall well-being of your trees. As professional tree surgeons, we encourage you to follow these practical tips to keep your trees healthy, resilient, and beautiful for years to come.

We can take care of all your tree needs. We will also provide you with a FREE, complimentary garden tree survey while we are there.  Call us now to book.

Written by

Paul Thomas