The first rule of thumb to understand is that if your tree is really young, it is going to need more water. Especially in their first two years or so, trees are focused on growing roots. While you might not see a ton of growth above ground, the constant water is paying dividends below the surface. That being said, if you don’t water enough, the tree won’t fully develop its root system, the canopy will die back and the tree is unlikely to remain viable.
Our rule of thumb is to provide about 20 gallons of water to a new tree weekly. The best thing you can do is simply take a five-gallon bucket over the drip zone (the space under the canopy where you see shadow) – and pour the water in – four times. You can use a sprinkler as well – and 30 minutes to 2 hours should do the trick – but you’ll have to pinpoint exactly where you want the water falling.
When it comes to more mature trees, they don’t need all that much attention. In reality, you only have to water them once or twice a month, if that. Especially if you’re in rainier areas of the country, this might vary slightly. It’s not a bad idea to check your rain levels in your region.
If you’re unsure of how much or whether or not you need to water a tree at all, we recommend the good, ole ‘screwdriver trick.’ Simply take a screwdriver and poke it into the dirt. If it’s hard to push it in, water the tree.
Good luck this summer!