A well-cared-for tree will continue to provide value and benefits to your home. One critical part of tree care is watering your trees. With drought conditions and a dry summer ahead, it is crucial to give your trees the water they need. This post will help you keep your trees happy and healthy while still using water efficiently.

Water is valuable, and so are your trees

First off, a healthy tree can increase property values by an average of 7%. Not only do trees make our homes and communities more desirable, but trees also slow down rainfall, reducing erosion and slowing stormwater flows. Trees in the right place can even reduce energy consumption. Deciduous trees (leafless in winter) planted on the southwestern side of a home will provide cooling shade in the summer while also allowing a home to heat during winter. We know that water is valuable, but so are your trees, and you can and should take care of them so they will keep taking care of you.

How much water?

Use our guide to get an idea of how much water your trees will need. When watering, soak the dripline around your tree so that water reaches 12-18 inches down. The dripline is the area at the outside edge of the canopy. Do not water trees at the trunk. Water slowly – for hours, not minutes. Slow watering will allow the water to reach deep into the soil and avoid runoff. 

Shows a tree watering guide for low, moderate and high water use trees

How often should I water my trees?

Once you water your trees, wait to water them again. Give the tree a good soaking every few weeks instead of shallow waterings every few days. Because you watered deeper, it will take longer for the soil to dry out, so you can wait a few weeks to water your trees again. Use our guide to see how often you should water your trees. 

Can I water my trees in a drought?

Yes. Helix Water District’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan allows and encourages tree watering in all but the worst conditions – during a Level 6 water emergency, when demand reductions of 50% or more are needed. This summer, all water agencies may be required to activate Level 2 of their Water Shortage Contingency Plans, regardless of local water supply conditions, following Governor Newsom’s March 2022 emergency executive order. While we have the water we need, we want to encourage you to keep being efficient and take care of your trees, even during droughts.

Photo of dripline arranged in concentric circles under tree.


Looking for more information? Check out the San Diego Regional Urban Foreses Council’s website for more tips on tree watering, including videos – in English and Spanish –  on how to water trees.


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