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Watering newly planted trees

For the first several months after planting, most of the tree’s roots are still within the original root ball. For the first several months after planting, most of a tree’s roots are still within the original root ball, with some roots beginning to grow beyond this area. The root ball and the surrounding soil should

Watering established trees

Once a tree is established, apply water in a wide band around the outer reaches of the tree’s canopy, called the drip-line. It’s a common misconception that a tree’s roots are a mirror image of the above ground canopy. In reality, an established tree’s roots usually extend well beyond the edge of the canopy, or drip line. Although some

Know when to water

The easiest way to check soil moisture is to 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. This technique works best in clay and loam soils.

How to apply water

Overhead sprinklers are the easiest way to cover large expanses, but they’re inefficient, losing up to half the water to evaporation. Trees are better served by watering methods that apply water slowly, right at soil level. It may take several hours to properly water a single mature tree. A soaker hose applies water slowly so it soaks in rather than

Minimize tree stress during drought

Avoid digging under and around trees so you don’t disturb the roots Don’t do any heavy pruning. However, it’s OK to remove broken, dead, insect-infested or diseased branches. Keep an eye out for insect pests and disease, because drought-stressed trees are more vulnerable to attack. Avoid using high-nitrogen lawn fertilizers under trees, and never use weed-and-feed

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