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Pat Sullivan: How and when to water trees

Trees need water and the time to do it is before they begin to show signs of stress.

INDIANAPOLIS — Taking care of your landscape includes care and feeding of the largest and most important plants you own - your trees. They add privacy and provide valuable shade for your house and lawn. 

Most trees require little maintenance, but they do need to be trimmed and watered.

Pat from Sullivan Hardware and Garden explained on 13Sunrise that some people actually harm their trees by giving them too much water, while others neglect to water them enough.

So what is the ideal amount of water for landscape trees?

Pat said the answer depends on the age, location and species of the tree.

New trees require more frequent watering to establish root growth. Older, established trees need less frequent watering but will need some nourishment during hot, dry weather. 

The number-one plant that garden centers see fail, according to Pat, is the evergreen arborvitae, and that's usually due to a lack of water after they have been planted.

Pat recommends using a moisture meter that you stick in the ground to measure the water content of the soil. Then you can tell if the base of your tree is dry, and give it a drink.

Using a soaker hose to wrap around the base, over the drip line, of your trees will allow the water to flow down to the roots. As a general guide, an inch or two of water every 10 to 14 days should be good for most established trees.

Mulching out several feet around the trunk in the spring and fall will help retain moisture, as well.

Watch Pat's full segment in the video player.