Quick Guide to Watering Trees in Wisconsin by M&M Tree Care

Dawn KruegerCare for New Trees, Moisture Control

hose watering trees garden

Let’s face it, we tend to take our trees for granted in Wisconsin. Especially if they are large and established. Sure, we make sure we water newly planted trees, but we tend to let the big beauties go it on their own. But as summer’s heat comes to a peak, remember to apply some basic tips for watering trees so they live a long and healthy life. Here’s a quick guide to watering trees in Wisconsin to give you all the info you need for success.

How often should I be watering trees?

First, that depends on the age of the tree. Smaller new trees should be watered roughly once a day for the first two weeks after being planted. If the new tree is larger, continue watering once a day for 4-6 weeks. Use the tree’s caliper as a general guide (that’s the inches across the base of the tree). If the tree has a 2 inch caliper, water daily for 2 weeks. If it has a 4 inch caliper, water daily for 4 weeks. However, always check the soil to be sure you are not over-watering.

If you water trees in the evening, be sure not to overdo it as fungus can grow on the root ball. Click To Tweet

After that, new trees should be watered about every other day for the rest of the season. As Fall comes and goes into Winter, the tree turns dormant and doesn’t need watering anymore. Watering trees often at the beginning allows the root system to expand and take in more water from the environment as the tree gets older. If you water in the evening, be sure not to overdo it as fungus can grow on the root ball.

Established trees generally don’t need much watering unless there is drought conditions or long spells without soaking rain. It usually takes 2-3 seasons for a tree to become “established.”

How much water should I use when watering trees?

If you think you’re over-watering or under-watering, be sure to check the soil. Check the soil moisture often to determine actual water needs for your trees. This can be done using a water meter or just by digging down a few inches and feeling the soil with your hands.

It is generally recommended to use 2-4 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter. However, soil and lighting conditions play a roll, so it’s important to check soil often for a moist but not soggy feel. Soil should be damp, but able to dry for a short period between watering so enough oxygen can permeate into the soil.

Can I water my trees the same amount as other plants around them?

No! The Department of Agriculture at the University of Iowa cautions us that lawns, flowers and trees have different water needs. Turf-grass is especially different in water needs from trees. Automatic sprinkler systems have to be fine tuned to this discrepancy and the University of Iowa also mentions they should be turned off during heavy rainfall.

Which trees are most drought-tolerant in SE Wisconsin?

The Milwaukee are is in Zone 5 of the USDA’s Plant Zone Hardiness Map. Drought-tolerant and moisture-tolerant trees can be found here according to zone numbers. If you have concerns about water conservation, planting more drought-tolerant trees is the perfect work around. Here are some drought-tolerant trees ideal for Wisconsin:

Hire a Certified Tree Arborist

By hiring a certified tree arborist, you will ensure that you plant the proper trees and that your existing trees are healthy for years to come. Professionals have experience treating many diseases and insects. They know what to look for and how to get fast results! And when watering trees, arborists can advise you on the exact amount and frequency for your soil conditions, tree age and location in the sun or shade.

Watering trees is intensive work in the beginning and takes a lot of monitoring, but will bring you a beautiful end result. Make sure you have a plan to ensure all your trees get the correct amount of water to grow well and live for a long time. If you have any questions or comments, please type a quick message below or contact us at 414-355-3420.

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