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Proper Watering Techniques for Minneapolis Trees

Person in jeans and work boots, watering a small newly planted tree from an aluminum watering can, with late-afternoon sun and greenery in background. Wheelbarrow to the right.

Maintaining healthy trees on your property is vital for a beautiful landscape. Proper watering promotes robust root growth, resistance to pests and diseases, and a longer lifespan.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through essential tips and best practices to help your trees thrive.

Understanding Tree Water Needs

Not all trees have the same water requirements. Some species need more water than others, and younger trees require more frequent watering than established trees with deep root systems.

The soil type also comes into play, with sandy soil draining more quickly and clay soils retaining moisture longer. Of course, sunlight, humidity, rain, and wind affect how often to water your trees as well.

Most homeowners know they should avoid underwatering, which leads to wilted or drooping leaves, brittle branches, and stunted growth. But too much of a good thing can also be detrimental. Overwatering leads to limp leaves, unusual leaf drop, and root rot.

Maintaining the right balance and practicing other plant care tips keep your trees vibrant and healthy.

When To Water Trees

Watering your trees correctly is as much about timing as it is about technique. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Watering newly planted trees: Water as often as twice a day for the first month or two, especially under warm or windy conditions. Gradually reduce the frequency to daily watering until the end of the first growing season.
  • Watering established trees: Give large trees a good, long drink once or twice a week. This encourages roots to grow downward for enhanced drought resistance.
  • Seasonal variations to keep in mind: Watering needs change with the seasons. Spring typically requires moderate watering as rainfall increases. Summer demands the most frequent watering due to higher temperatures and evaporation rates. Taper off your watering in the fall to prepare your trees for winter dormancy. Winter watering might be needed during dry spells when the ground is not frozen.

To establish whether the soil is holding moisture or has dried out, use a moisture meter or soil probe. These instruments help prevent under- and overwatering by providing accurate moisture readings at various soil depths.

In addition to adequate watering, discuss pruning and tree bracing with a professional to maintain your tree’s health throughout the year.

Tree Watering Methods

It’s a common misconception that you don’t need to water your trees if you have a sprinkler system. Irrigation is typically set up to meet the watering needs of your grass, but not any trees on the property. The turf soaks up most of the water before it penetrates more than 8 to 10 inches deep, which is where your tree’s absorbing roots are.

This means you should supplement your lawn watering efforts with targeted tree watering, which you can accomplish with a sprinkler system, soaker hose, or drip irrigation system.

One common watering mistake is to set up a sprinkler system so the heads spray water on the tree trunks and constantly soak the root flare. The constant moisture leads to a fungal condition called Armillaria root rot, which is especially damaging to white oaks.

Pointing the sprinkler heads in a different direction helps with this, but runoff from sprinklers located uphill of the tree can cause problems, too. 

The best way to water a tree is to turn on a garden hose to about 20% and set it on the ground inside the “drip line,” or within the perimeter of the tree canopy.

After 30 minutes, move the hose to the other side of the tree and leave for another 30 minutes. For very large trees, you may need to reposition the hose a few times to thoroughly soak the root zone.

Trust Bratt Tree Company

Proper watering is essential for maintaining the health and beauty of your trees. At Bratt Tree Company, we know tree care can be tricky, which is why you should trust our ISA-certified arborists to provide the knowledge and support your trees need to flourish.

Contact us today for a free tree care service estimate. Together, we’ll keep your landscape healthy and vibrant.

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Our job is never complete until you are 100% satisfied with our services.

Upfront Pricing

We offer 100% transparent pricing to all our valued customers, so you know what to expect.

Trained Technicians

Our ISA-certified arborists are trained in the most advanced industry tools and techniques.

Commitment to Community

We’ve proudly delivered trusted tree services to the Twin Cities for more than 30 years.

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