When To Stop Watering New Trees: Expert Tips

Most gardeners wonder when to stop watering new trees. In this post, Frady Tree Care, your go-to tree service in Charlotte, NC, explains how to maintain optimal soil moisture after tree planting. 

General Guidelines 

Good tree care is sometimes a tricky business. This is particularly true when it comes to watering your trees. It’s just as easy to overwater them as it is to underdo it, and the symptoms of both are similar. 

However, these simple guidelines will give your new trees a good start, an expansive root system, and healthy bark.

Day One

Your tree is in shock on day one because you are transplanting it. Watering it deeply is one of the best ways to help it recover, but the trick is to use a slow drip system instead of a flood of water. Set the hose to trickle for about two or three hours, and then move it to the opposite side and repeat it so you saturate the ground. 

Weeks One and Two

Repeat the same process as on day one every day for two weeks during the summer. If you plant your tree in the fall, reduce this to one week only. Keep an eye on the weather, and don’t water your tree if it rains well that day. 

Weeks Three to Ten

No, now is not when to stop watering new trees. Now, you can space out the watering to every second or third day, again following the same procedure. How often you water depends on the rainfall and the temperatures. During hot, dry weather, stick to watering on alternate days. When it’s cooler, every third day is plenty for good tree maintenance. 

To be sure, you can check the top two inches of soil. Never let the earth around a new tree dry out beyond this depth. 

Week Ten Onward

You can now start watering once every week until the roots are strong. This may take between two and three years, depending on the species. It’s important to water it even during the dormant season to encourage good root growth. 

The only exception is when the ground freezes. Stop watering your tree during this period. You should also apply some common sense here. Check the soil’s moisture content and top it up as necessary during hotter weather. 

After the First Three Years

After your tree has a sound, strong root system, you shouldn’t have to water it much at all. However, you may need to do so when rain is scarce or the temperature is very high. Regularly checking your trees is a good tree maintenance practice. 

If you’re unsure how to ensure they’re in optimal health, consider hiring an arborist for an annual check. In the interim, watch your tree carefully for signs of drooping or discoloring leaves. While these may be signs of nutrient deficiencies as well, they are also good indicators of water issues.  

How Much Water To Use

There’s no generic answer for every tree because there are so many factors at play. However, it’s a good rule of thumb to provide five gallons for every inch of the diameter. From there, regular soil testing will tell you when to stop watering new trees. 

If you’re battling a water restriction, you can use mulch to seal the moisture in. 

Call Your Local Specialists Today!

Would you like to give your new trees the best possible start in life? Call Frady Tree Care at (704) 644-2516 to schedule your consultation. We can help you with every step, from planting to helping your new trees recover from heat stress.


Frady Tree Care has the most reliable and professional tree services in the Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Kernersville, Clemmons & High Point, NC areas! Our team is a third-generation certified and fully-insured arboriculture firm. With more than 100 years of combined experience, we are the tree service experts you can trust.


Charlotte Office

8640 Charlotte University City Blvd.  Suite A3-241        Charlotte, NC 28213
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Lexington Office

402 W. 4th Avenue,    Lexington, NC 27292
Phone : (336) 236-1006

Salisbury Office

1460 Henderson Grove Church Rd,
Salisbury, NC 28147
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Winston-Salem Office

1035 Shalimar Drive.      Winston-Salem, NC 27107
Phone : (336) 236-1006

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