watering a tree in a backyard

What You Can Do

  • The best time of day to water is early morning and late evening. You can estimate that about two gallons of water flow through a typical garden hose per minute. Therefore, you should water newly planted trees for at least three minutes. Run sprinklers a bit longer.
  • Both young and mature trees can benefit from extra water. Water young trees 25 gallons a week. Water mature trees during drought, by laying a garden hose over the roots, and letting it water at a low setting, for 30 minutes a week.
  • Take responsibility of trees in public spaces near your home. We often encourage residents to help us with watering.  If a homeowner chooses to help, we recommend one week after the last watering.  Simply, place the hose in the opening at the top of the bag and fill until the bag is full.  Gravity will take care of the rest.
  • Keep young trees mulched with wood chips or leaf mulch; don’t place mulch in direct contact with trunks. Mature trees can benefit from a large ring of wood chips, 3 inches deep, 3 inches away from the trunk, and wide as you are comfortable
  • Please do not fertilize the trees.  The only thing they need after planting is water.  The salts in the fertilizer can dry out the roots.
  • Check local non-profit Casey Trees’ weekly watering alerts, to find out when watering is needed, and learn the best techniques: Casey Trees

What The County Does

  • Each newly planted tree will receive a water bag.  The water bag will be added to the tree once the tree has been inspected and remain on the tree for two years.  This is to ensure an immediate beginning to the watering program in the Spring as well as to reduce the overall cost.  Every water bag holds 20 gallons of water and will drain over a five to eight-hour period.  If it is observed that water remains in the bag please call 703-228-7980 and we will clean the bag to ensure it drains properly.
  • The watering crew usually consists of three to four watering trucks and our county crews can typically water all newly-planted public trees in the county in eight to ten business days.
  • Each newly planted tree will be watered for two consecutive years after planting.
  • We monitor mature trees for signs of wilting and water as needed
  • We consistently monitor weather conditions as well as tree conditions throughout the growing season.
  • All new trees planted by the County have a one year warranty and will typically be replaced the following Fall.

Questions? Urbanforestry@arlingtonva.us