Tree watering

Woman watering a young tree in one of Cheltenham's parks

During dry periods many trees, especially young ones, can really suffer from a lack of water, and some will even die.

Trees suffering from drought stress may:

  • have wilted leaves during the day which then “recover” at night
  • have older leaves and needles which look brown, faded or yellow and sometimes blotchy
  • frequently shed their leaves altogether

Whilst Cheltenham Borough Council carries out tree watering, the more water trees can get, the better their chance of survival and healthy growth.

So if you can, as well as watering your own trees during dry spells, watering trees on nearby street verges and also in our parks and gardens will help to keep them healthy.

Top tips for tree watering

  1. Water late or early in the day - this will help reduce evaporation
  2. Water slowly so the water does not run-off. The ground may be hard so water will take time to permeate through the surface. Especially to begin with, water slowly and thoroughly
  3. Allow for at least one watering can (twice a week) per inch trunk diameter. Therefore if the trunk of the tree is 2 inches thick, give the tree 2 full watering cans twice a week. Less than this can lead to surface roots growing which can cause problems if the watering stops
  4. Water under the canopy of the tree - this is where most feeding roots will be. Sometimes a watering tube is sticking out of the ground - pour water down this tube so as many roots as possible will receive water
  5. If possible, mulch the base of the tree. This will help reduce evaporation, weed competition and sun reflection. Mulch around the base (making sure the mulch does not touch the trunk) for at least 1 metre diameter around the trunk. Mulch can be shredded tree bark, wood chippings, leaf mould or even bits of old carpet!
  6. Where possible use “grey” water such as bath water, washing up water (provided it does not contain too much detergent), water from water butts