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The key to successfully growing trees as part of your landscape is to water them correctly and efficiently. One of the biggest mistakes we encounter in this business is incorrect watering, which usually means overwatering or underwatering. For that reason, this is an important article that outlines how often to water newly planted trees in the fall so that you can best succeed at caring for these prominent landscape features.


How Often to Water Newly Planted Trees in the Fall

We recommend watering young, newly planted trees once or twice a week, depending on how hot the weather is. New trees must be watered deeply to ensure the roots are thoroughly saturated. Consistent watering schedules will help ensure trees grow healthy, established root systems that extend deep into the earth and can sustain potential damage from periods of dry spells—plus we want to get our tree roots as established as possible before fall ends and winter arrives.


sumac tree in autumn


While young trees need more frequent watering than older mature trees, even well-established trees need deep, regular watering, especially during these hot, dry summers in the Quad City Metropolitan Area. A regular schedule must be maintained throughout the growing season and into the fall to ensure the needs of your trees are met. Keep in mind that it can take up to one year for newly planted trees to become established, and they will require considerable attention and care. But your efforts will be rewarded once you have a well-established tree as a permanent fixture in your landscape.  


How to Water Your Trees

A common misconception of how to water trees can often be the culprit of insufficient care. Many people assume the best way to water a tree is right up close to the base of the trunk. The closer to the trunk, the closer to the roots, right? Wrong. The best way to water your trees is around an area called the ‘drip line.’ The drip line is in a large circular area directly under the outer edges of the canopy of a tree. That is the proverbial sweet spot to do your watering—the smaller “feeder” roots, which take up most of the water from the soil, are located around the drip line.


small tree in autumn


Fall Watering

Watering trees in the fall can be a little confusing. First, it’s important to continue watering right up until frost, but as the weather cools your trees will require less frequent watering; a deep watering every other week will suffice as weather cools. In late fall, after the deciduous trees have lost their leaves, give your trees one last deep drink before the ground freezes. The frozen soil acts as a barrier and prevents the tree roots from receiving the much-needed water if you wait until after.


watering property with a sprinkler


The feeder roots we mentioned earlier are located in the top foot of your soil within the dripline area. It’s essential to moisten this top foot of soil so the feeder roots can do their job. Water until the area is moist but not oversaturated; otherwise, you risk overwatering your trees; a hose running on a low drip for approximately 20 minutes is usually an adequate amount. It’s essential to water your trees in the fall because otherwise, they are entering their dormancy period with dry roots, they’ll be set up for issues in the spring. It’s always a good idea to add a layer of mulch around the base of your trees to promote moisture retention.


Now that you know how often to water your fall trees, the next step is ensuring they’re well protected for the coming winter. Visit our beautiful garden center in Moline, Illinois to shop protective wraps for trees, plus browse our fall trees for sale.


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