Freshly planted trees require consistent moisture for healthy root development. In the early spring when soil is moist and foliage is thin, mature trees require little irrigation. In the late summer with heavy foliage and hot conditions, trees develop water stress making deep, frequent watering necessary from mid to late summer. The ground freezes and foliage thins again in the fall and winter making water less necessary. Inexpensive soaker hose irrigation systems are easily adjusted to the needs of the tree and to shifting climate conditions.
Things You'll Need
- Garden spade
- Soaker hose
Observe the span of the tree's canopy.
Dig a two-foot deep hole equidistant from the edge of the tree's canopy and the tree's trunk.
Check the moisture level and texture of the soil. The soil should be moist to the touch. Gritty soil requires more irrigation than loamy or clay-like soil.
Back fill the hole.
Plan the number of soaker hoses and their placement. This plan should reflect the moisture levels and texture of the soil.
Excavate the area where you will place the hoses to a depth of six to four inches and a width equal to that of the hose.
Attach a "Y" valve to the water source's spigot.
Screw the soaker hose to one branch of the "Y" valve. The other branch is available for other uses.
Lay the soaker hose in the prepared trenches, connecting branching hoses as necessary.
Cover the hoses with mulch.
Tips & Warnings
- Prevent soaker hose damage by alerting others of their locations.
- Adjust the flow of the water. You may have to attach low flow devices to the spigot prior to connecting the soaker hose.
- Most garden supply stores sell tree rings--soaker rings designed specifically for newly planted trees.
- Washington State University Extension: Irrigating Tree Fruits for Top Qualiuty
- "Pests of Landscape Trees and Shrubs: an Integrated Pest Management Guide"; Steve H. Dreistadt, Jack Kelly Clark, Mary Louise Flint; 2004
- City of Bellevue, Wash.: Soaker Hoses
- Photo Credit Chris Clinton/Lifesize/Getty Images