Watering Trees in Canada


The ideal way to water trees is by soaker, or irrigation hose. Sprinklers and regular garden hoses are less efficient than soaker hoses but can be used. Use organic mulch (wood chips etc.) to conserve moisture and apply water over the top of the mulch. Do not concentrate water at the base of the trunk.


Lay the soaker hose on the ground in a circle under or beyond the drip-line. Most of the trees roots spread 1-1/2 to 3 times as wide as the tree’s canopy. Some trees such as Spruce will have absorbing roots well beyond the drip-line


The best time to water is late afternoon or evening when evaporation will be less. But anytime is o.k. If using a sprinkler watering at night is not recommended.


Water well or not at all! Shallow watering will “starve” the deeper roots causing more growth of surface roots, these roots will be predisposed to freezing conditions. Less frequent deep watering is much better than frequent light watering. Let the water run slowly generally 1-3 inches of water per week in summer and every two weeks in spring/fall will keep a tree healthy. Five gallon (approx. 20 litres) per square yard is about 1 inch of water.


  • Apply two -three inches of mulch (wood chips, bark) under the plant canopy. Mulch retains soil moisture and discourages weeds. Very attractive in the landscape as well!
  • Newly planted trees have small root systems and can take up water from only a limited area. For the first 6 months water at least once a week. More in hot weather.
  • Don't forget to water those mature trees. When watering mature trees, don't water at the base of the trunk. Instead, soak the soil around the outer third of the tree's canopy and about a metre past the tree's drip line
  • Because evergreens lose moisture from their needles, which are retained year-round, they tend to be more susceptible to dry conditions. It is especially important to water evergreens well before winter and as soon as possible in spring when the ground has thawed.
  • Just because a lawn is well-watered this does not mean the trees are. Turf will use most of the water from irrigation. To grow the biggest & strongest they can be- Trees need their own water!
Watering Trees

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