New trees need much more attention and care than mature trees to survive their initial years. The aim of watering new trees is to encourage deep root growth. One of the best ways to water new and mature trees is to use a hose.
To water a new tree with a hose, identify how much water the tree needs so you can determine how long to leave the water on. Always water trees slowly and place them close to the trunk to thoroughly soak the root ball. Soaker hoses can be wrapped around the tree for more thorough watering.
This article offers several tips to use your hose effectively to water your new trees. Read on to find out how to determine the amount of water needed, how to place your hose correctly, and when to water your tree for maximum effectiveness.
1. Set the Water to a Low Flow Rate
Watering slowly is essential for watering trees, especially new trees. Set the water flow down as low as possible when you’re using a hose, so the water seeps into the soil slowly. This will prevent the possibility of rejection from the soil.
If your water flow rate is too high, the water pressure will also be high. In such a situation, the water will push at the soil and carry it away. The force of the water may also cause puddling instead of seeping, which means the top of the soil will get soggy while the deeper layers remain dry.
This is not ideal for trees, especially new trees that must be encouraged to grow deep roots. Watering your tree deeply is the way to encourage healthy root growth, so the water flow must be low enough to allow the water to soak into the soil.
2. Test How Much Water Your Hose Puts Out in an Hour
Determining the flow rate of your hose normally, then turning it down is also a great way to determine how much time it will take to water your trees correctly.
Set your hose to the regular flow rate, set out a five-gallon (18.9 L) bucket, and fill it. Note the amount of time it takes to fill up the bucket, and you’ll have an idea of the flow rate. On average, your hose should be able to fill up the bucket in a few minutes.
However, when you’re checking the flow rate, you want to set your water flow to the speed you’ll use to water your trees. Adjust the flow rate until you can bring it down to a trickle that fills the bucket in about half an hour. This is the ideal flow rate for watering trees.
Depending on the amount of water your trees need, you can determine how long you should leave your hose out.
3. Determine How Much Water Your Trees Need
Using a regular garden hose to water your new tree is convenient and is one of the best ways to ensure deep watering, apart from using a bucket.
When using a hose, you don’t want to be wasting water. Identifying how much your tree needs help to determine how long you should leave the water on.
New trees typically need more water than mature trees to encourage deep root growth. They also need their water requirements split up into more frequent waterings. You’ll probably have to water your trees every day to start with, and as the roots develop, you can reduce the frequency.
Typically, the amount of water a tree needs every time it’s watered can be determined by the trunk size. Generally, you’ll need about a gallon of water (3.8 L) for every inch (2.54 cm) of the trunk caliper.
The amount of water your trees need will also depend on the weather. In rainy weather, you will need to supplement the water from the rain. In hot and dry weather, you’ll be responsible for meeting your new tree’s water needs, as it isn’t resilient enough to survive without water at this time.
Different trees will have different water requirements, so the easiest way to determine how much water your tree needs is to set your hose out and monitor the soil.
The water must soak deep into the ground, at least 12 inches (30.48 cm). You can test this by sticking a screwdriver into the soil. Note the time it took for the ground to soak down to 12 inches (30.48 cm).
Once your tree is thoroughly watered, keep an eye on the soil over the next few days. After a few days, stick your screwdriver into the ground again and check. Once about 6-8 inches (15.24-20.32 cm) of the ground has dried, you can water your trees again.
4. Place the Hose Close to the Trunk of the Tree
With mature trees, you’d water along the dripline to ensure that the fine roots and root hairs at the outer edges of the root ball received water. The root ball is small with new trees, so you must start with water close to the trunk.
Place your hose close to the tree trunk and move it around every quarter or half an hour, depending on the trunk size. Moving the hose around will ensure that every part of the root ball receives adequate water.
If you don’t move the hose around, you’ll encourage lopsided root growth in your new tree, as it will focus all its root growth in the space you water.
5. Hook the Ends of Your Soaker Hose to an Adapter
Soaker hoses are typically not recommended for deep watering as it is difficult to control the flow rate. But if a soaker hose is all you have, you can modify it as horticultural expert Ward Upham recommends ensuring more uniform deep watering.
According to Upham, you should attach your hoses to a Y adapter with shut-off valves to control the flow rate of the water and ensure that your trees are watered correctly.
6. Wrap Soaker Hoses Around the Trunk
A good way to ensure that your new trees are watered exactly where they need to be when using a soaker hose is to wrap it around the trunk. Not only will this ensure that the root ball is watered thoroughly, but it will also ensure that the ground is watered evenly.
With new trees, you can keep the circles fairly tight, with little distance between them. You don’t want to inadvertently water beyond the tree’s root line while it’s young because that would simply waste water.
7. Set Your Hose Out Early in the Morning
Like all plants, trees do well when watered early in the morning. Using a hose makes it all the easier because all you need to do is set it out as soon as you wake up and carry on doing your chores.
Watering your trees early in the morning ensures that the water has time to soak in before the sun gets hot enough to evaporate. Your trees can also use the water for photosynthesis as soon as it’s absorbed, making watering more effective.
8. Set a Timer for Your Hose
If you forget your hose, you’ll waste water, make your ground soggy, and affect the health of your trees. Once you know how much water your trees need and how much time it takes to deliver that much water based on the flow rate, you can set a timer for yourself.
You can use a regular kitchen timer or a timer with valves attached to your hose and automatically shut off the water when you’re done.
When watering a new tree, it’s good to set a low flow rate – about 5 gallons (18.9 L) in half an hour. With this flow rate, you should determine how long it takes to soak the ground about 12 inches (30.48 cm) deep to determine how often you need to water your tree.
Place your hose close to the trunk, or wrap it around the tree if you use a soaker hose. Set your hose out in the morning, and use a timer to ensure you don’t forget to turn the water off.