As we enter the hot and dry stretch of summer in Indianapolis, it is important to water any new trees you planted in the last few years. Until trees have deeply rooted and doubled in size, which can take 3-5 years, you will likely need to water your tree. Once a week watering is typically adequate, but periodically check soil to see if tree needs watering more frequently. If the soil is drier than a damp sponge, then it is time to water your trees.
Most newly planted trees will require roughly five gallons of water per watering. Not enough water will create shallow roots which could leave the tree susceptible to winter damage, summer heat stress and/or wind damage. Over watering is also bad for tree which can occur in heavy clay soils. Too much water does not allow the necessary oxygen in soil to reach roots.
There are several ways to water your trees. The simplest way is to use a garden hose with the water flow set at the diameter of a pencil and soak the tree for ten minutes. In areas where a hose will not reach then watering bags are adequate. Another option is to drill a ½ inch hole in a five gallon bucket and fill with water and let water flow out onto trunk.
If you would like additional information or have questions, please contact me.
Brian Jones is the President of Scenic Green Inc., an Indianapolis based landscaping firm. He is a certified horticulturist and a former 7th grade social studies teacher.