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Watering Apple Trees

Unless your apple trees are growing in an area where irrigation is usually needed for growth (desert areas, drought areas, containers, etc.), you probably won’t need to water your apple trees more than what the rain naturally provides after the first growing year. Until then, follow these guidelines to get your new apple trees off to a great start.

NOTE: This is part 10 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow apple trees, we recommend starting from the beginning.

General Watering Guidelines

  • If the growing season brings about an inch of rainfall every 10 days or so, you shouldn’t need to provide any additional water; however, if it gets really dry in a week’s time, you can give your young apple tree a good, thorough soaking. The best way to do this is to let your garden hose trickle slowly around the root zone. This gives the water a chance to soak in and down to the roots instead of running off over the soil surface. You can also use a soaker hose to water several trees at once. Give your apple tree enough water to soak the ground all around the roots.
  • It’s important to note that, even if you’re in the midst of a “brown-lawn drought”, you shouldn’t water too much. Once every 7- to 10-days (or even once every two weeks) is plenty. Worse than dry, thirsty roots are waterlogged, drowning roots.
  • Although a little depression in the soil helps by preventing runoff during growing-season watering, it’s important to bring the soil around the tree up to the level of the surrounding soil for the winter. If this settled soil is not filled in, water could freeze around the trunk and injure the tree.

Note: These guidelines are far from strict, so just be sure to water as needed. Apple trees do not need lots of water every day; however, if you discover that your soil or your location’s environment require more frequent watering to avoid drought-stress to your apple trees, adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Pay attention to your apple trees and the soil they’re planted in as the best reference for when they need water.

Keep in mind, many parts of the country have restrictions on water usage. Be sure to adhere to your county or state’s restrictions when watering new apple trees, and contact your local department in charge of water usage for more information.

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