Watering A Pine Tree: How To Do It Right! | A Comprehensive Guide

Let us tell you something: humans and plants both require water, and it’s not rocket science! I mean, water is essential for all animal and plant life on earth. Your trees’ ability to flourish throughout the years depends on you giving them the correct amount of water. But do you know how much water does a pine tree drink a day and how often you need to water it?

how much water does a pine tree drink a day

Photo Credit Pine trees are great for preventing soil erosion because their deep roots act to stabilize the ground.

Pine trees require continuous watering, even in the coldest months of winter. However, you shouldn’t feel obligated to water them every single day. A pine tree needs an average of 1 to 2 inches of water every week. Furthermore, pine trees do best when given deep, infrequent watering. Also, ideally, you should water them with a soaker but if that’s unavailable, water them slowly with a garden hose.

There is, however, much more to watering pine trees. Read on to find out!

Watering Pine Trees

Watering Pine Trees

Photo Credit Most pine trees are drought-tolerant and don’t require a lot of water to survive and grow.

Pine trees are hardy enough to withstand even the harshest climates, making them an excellent choice for evergreen landscaping. They do not require large amounts of water and would rather have dry soil than wet soil.

In addition, pine trees have small leaves that resemble needles and a thick cuticle that prevents water loss. This is in contrast to large broad-leaf varieties, which can wilt quickly in heat due to evapotranspiration.

How Much Water Does A Pine Tree Need?

From planting until maturity, pine trees can absorb varying amounts of water. The needles of this plant are able to take up water too.

A fully developed Eastern pine can drink more than one hundred gallons of water every single day. And would you believe it? When there is a limitless water supply, they can absorb even more. 

Nevertheless, you need to apply 10 gallons of water for every inch of the pine tree’s diameter. How much time do you need to spend watering before you reach the one-inch irrigation mark? Well, it is easy to calculate using the formula given below:

5 minutes x the diameter of tree = total time of watering

After you’ve planted your pine tree, you should make it a point to give it at least an inch of water per day so that it can grow strong roots.

It takes approximately half an inch of water every week, whether from rain or hand irrigation. Therefore, during the first one to two years of life, it is essential to take care of your tree by watering it consistently.

Below is some more detail on how to water a young pine tree.

RELATED: 11 Lovely Pine Tree Plants (With Pictures)

Watering A Baby Pine Tree

Watering A Baby Pine Tree

Photo Credit Watering young pine trees frequently is essential, at least once every two weeks and more often in dry spells.

Young pine trees grown indoors benefit from soil that is kept moist to a depth of a couple of inches. It is imperative that the soil is never allowed to dry and always feels damp when touched. It is because these infant pines are still developing, and thus they need a lot of water, and the soil they are planted in needs to be kept moist.

So, you must water the newly planted pine tree once a day for the first two to three weeks. After that, reduce your watering frequency to every three to four days.

Next, after twelve weeks, you only need to water it once every fortnight until its roots have fully developed in the soil.

Additionally, before placing a pine tree into the soil, the hole should be dug out and filled with water. After allowing that to drain thoroughly, place the plant inside the container, add the remaining dirt, and water it once more.

Watering An Old Pine Tree

Watering An Old Pine Tree

Photo Credit Except for their needles falling off, pine trees may not exhibit any outward symptoms of drought stress.

Pine trees that have reached maturity are a dignified addition to any landscape, and the evergreen needles provide cover for songbirds and other species throughout the year.

During extremely dry conditions, older pine trees will benefit from deep watering, and watering the trees in the late fall will assist the trees in surviving the winter months.

Older pine trees may require watering only once a year or as frequently as once a month, depending on the conditions of the environment in which they are grown and the weather.

To achieve this, you will need to provide the trees with one to three inches of water to slake their thirst and encourage the growth of their roots. In addition, mulch can also be used around the foundation to keep the soil moist and weed-free.

However, keep in mind that having an abundance of water can be just as harmful as having inadequate water. So, aside from the watering done in the late fall, you shouldn’t water your old pine trees unless there are signs of drought stress.

Tips For Watering Pine Trees

how much water does a pine tree drink a day

Photo Credit Pine trees are sensitive to water stress, so be careful not to overwater them.

Here are some more tips for watering a pine tree:

  • To ensure that the pine plant survives the harsh winter, provide it with an abundance of water in the late fall, just before the ground freezes.
  • Mulch is beneficial to pines and other plants because it keeps the soil around the tree’s roots cool and helps to conserve water in the landscape.
  • After the watering, wait two to three hours before using the screwdriver to investigate the soil to find out how far the moisture has penetrated.
  • Find a spot underneath the tree’s canopy and insert a long screwdriver or water probe into the ground there to check the moisture level.
  • Adjust the water pressure so that it barely makes a trickle, and then position the hose around the base of the pine tree and water the plants.
  • It is best to water pine trees with a soaker. However, if a soaker hose is not accessible, you can also use a regular garden hose.
  • Set up a hose or a soaker hose in a circular pattern around the tree. Position the hose so that it is just slightly inboard of the outermost border of the tree canopy.
  • During the first two years of the plant’s life, you should regularly keep up with its routine watering maintenance and watering your young pine.
  • For their deep taproots to be healthy, large pines need a moisture field that is at least 18 to 20 inches deep. So, water old pines accordingly.
  • You also need to conduct an inspection of your pine tree to look for indications of water stress, such as browning and brittle needles.
  • To determine the state of the pine’s health, remove one needle at random. When bent, the needle shouldn’t break in two but instead flex.

Overwatering Pine Trees

how much water does a pine tree drink a day

Photo Credit When a tree is overwatered, its roots drown, and it cannot take in enough oxygen to stay alive.

If you overwater your pine tree, you will notice that it will start to lose its needles, and the tree’s lower branches will show signs of dying, beginning at the base.

In the event that you overwater your plants, you should inspect the soil to see if it has become waterlogged or flooded. If it has, you should either aerate the soil or remove the thatch from it. In addition, take away as much mulch as you can to hasten the process of drying out the area.

A significant loss of needles, bald areas on the tree, or browning that begins at the base and spreads upward and outward are also some other symptoms that can show themselves when a tree receives excessive water.

These symptoms of overwatering are not very common. However, they can appear if your region receives a lot of rain. 

Signs Of An Overwatered Pine Tree

Take a look at the needles and the branches. It is possible for them to wilt, droop, or become brittle, but the soil saturation level is the most reliable indicator that it has been overwatered.

If you overwater your pine tree, you will notice that it will start to lose its needles, and the lower branches will show signs of fully dying, beginning at the base of the tree.

Saving An Overwatered Pine Tree

Stop giving your pine tree any more water as soon as you see any of the symptoms that come along with being overwatered. Based on the extent of the overwatering, it may take a few weeks for the plant to show symptoms of new growth.

Watering Pine Trees In Winter

Watering Pine Trees In Winter

Photo Credit When watering the pine in the winter, ensure the air temperature is between 40 and 50 °F.

Since pine trees are evergreen, they require watering throughout the year, even if they do not lose their needles. Therefore, if you live in a warmer region, you should continue to water your pine tree according to the typical schedule any time the temperature is above 50 degrees F. Here are a few reasons why you should water your pine tree in winter:

It Prepares Pines For Winter Growth

The winter months cause a slowdown in growth for most plant species, and pine trees are no exception. If you continue to water your pine tree during the winter, you will be assisting it in maintaining its health throughout the harsh season. 

They won’t have to waste time and effort trying to catch up on the lost ground; instead, they’ll be able to jump right into achieving their full potential for growth. You are providing your pine tree with a head start, resulting in improved spring growth.

It Keeps Soil Loose & Healthy

If the soil has dried out, a good soaking will do wonders to break it loose again. When the ground for the roots breaks down, it becomes easier to move around. However, when soil becomes compacted, there is very little space for oxygen to circulate through the soil

Pine trees are similar to other plants in that they obtain the water and nutrients they require from the soil while also drawing some oxygen from the air around them. Therefore, for pine trees to be able to achieve that, the ground first needs to be worked up.

It Keeps Pine Trees Growing In Winter

Even if growth rates are slower during the colder months, the pine tree still requires the resources to maintain its leaves and new growth in order to achieve a healthy equilibrium. On the other hand, pine trees retain their needles throughout the year, in contrast to other types of trees, which shed their needles in the fall and winter. 

Therefore, a pine tree also needs a functioning water source in order for it to be able to carry out the critical functions and growth activities that it requires.

It Keeps The Pine Tree Up & Running

Evergreen trees are unable to “hibernate” in the same sense as deciduous trees since they never lose their leaves. This implies that your pine tree must have an adequate supply of water in order for its needles to continue receiving the necessary nutrients. 

Additionally, as they do not shed their leaves, they continue to be required to expend energy and resources in order to maintain their canopy year-round. Because of this, they need a steady supply of water even during the winter months.

RELATED: 7 Amazing Pine Tree Flowers (Including Pictures)

Watering Pine Trees In Drought

Watering Pine Trees In Drought

Photo Credit Pine trees are exceptionally drought resilient and can survive months without water if well established.

Pine trees will require extra irrigation during extended times of drought to prevent the trees from entirely drying out and ultimately passing away. So, if your pine tree exhibits drought symptoms, you should start watering it more frequently. 

After 2 to 4 weeks without water, newly planted trees will also begin to show signs of drought stress. So, you will need to water the tree more often than usual to compensate for the increased water loss. Pine trees, on the other hand, are resistant to dryness and, once planted, can survive for several months without any additional watering.

Signs Of An Underwatered Pine Tree

If a pine tree is underwatered, it may begin falling green needles with no evidence of browning beforehand and gradually lose twigs if the scarcity of moisture continues.

Underwatered pine trees will also show evidence of browning needles or have a dull, wilted aspect to their green needles. Additionally, their green needles will become dry and brittle to the touch as the drying process continues.

Recovering An Underwatered Pine Tree

Pine trees can recover quite quickly from drought due to their species’ high level of resistance to drought.

Therefore, if dying due to underwatering, water the tree until the soil can be felt to be wet, and then keep monitoring the soil moisture and the tree, providing extra water if necessary but taking care not to overwater it.

Step By Step Guide For Watering Pine Trees

how much water does a pine tree drink a day

Photo Credit Watering pine trees properly is critical for their health and appearance.

Here is a step-by-step guide on watering pine trees

Step 1

Calculate the planting area in square feet. When poured at a constant rate, one gallon of water will spread out evenly over 231 square inches, making a 1-inch layer. 

Step 2

Put the end of your garden hose into the garbage can, and then wait for the water to drain out slowly. The use of slow watering helps build root systems that are both deep and robust.

Step 3

Next, wrap a soaking hose around the drip line, then activate the water at the rate determined in Step 1. The drip line is the area under the tree’s outer branches. 

Step 4

When the tree is fully established in September, you should stop watering it to help it harden off for the winter. After that, the tree can withstand freezing temperatures and icy winter winds by strengthening its defenses and going dormant.

Step 5

Water your newly planted or mature tree before the first frost in late October. The tree is undergoing hibernation so that it won’t grow. The plant’s root system will be more secure if the soil is damp, as the former experiences a smaller temperature drop.

Where To Water Around A Pine Tree?

how much water does a pine tree drink a day

Photo Credit If you want a healthy pine tree, you must water its roots and the area outward to its lower branches.

Keep in mind that the roots of your pine tree extend much further underground than just the area directly beneath the trunk. Therefore, you will need to distribute the water in a broader area if you want to guarantee that all roots receive the same amount of moisture. 

However, you want to ensure that the “watering area” does not expand beyond a particular circumference. Therefore, it is essential to be aware that the size of your tree will entirely determine the size of this “watering area,” so plan accordingly.

Always Test The Soil Moisture

It is recommended to check the soil four to six inches down before watering your pine tree. This is because the moisture content of the roots can already be at its maximum. So, when you add more water in such a situation, it can make things worse. 

Therefore, dig a tiny hole to that depth, then use your fingers to check for moisture in the soil. The soil should be dry or slightly damp before watering.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has helped clear up any confusion you may have had regarding the amount of water that a pine tree needs each day. Proper watering is essential at every stage, from selecting a location to plant a tree to selecting an evergreen pine tree. 

Knowing this information is obviously very significant if you want to take better care of the pine tree and keep it alive for a long time. Therefore, make sure that the plant receives the appropriate amount of water to keep it nourished, and have fun planting!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When it comes to water, how long can a pine tree go?

In its first year without water, a typical pine tree may give the impression that it is unharmed by the situation. The grown pine needles, on the other hand, take on a yellowish hue the following year. If this condition remains unchanged, the tree will die.

Can you tell if a pine tree is getting too much water?

A pine tree that has received excessive water is easy to spot. When the soil around the pine tree appears to be saturated with water, it has been overwatered. Also, when overwatered, the needles will eventually turn brown, dry out, or wilt and fall off.

Do pine trees require a lot of water?

The water requirements of a pine tree vary. During the warm summer months and on particularly hot days, pine trees require more watering.

Conversely, the seasons of spring and fall have lower water requirements. And throughout the winter, it requires only a minuscule amount of water, and during various parts of the year, it doesn’t require any water.

How often do you need to water a pine tree?

Except for the first year after planting, when a pine tree needs watering twice or three times a week, pine trees do not require constant watering.

Pine trees do best when given deep, infrequent watering. So, if you soak for a few minutes once a week, that should be sufficient.

Sources for Further Reading

Watering newly planted trees and shrubs. (2022). Retrieved 28 November 2022, from https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/watering-newly-planted-trees-and-shrubs

Watering established trees and shrubs. (2022). Retrieved 28 November 2022, from https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/watering-established-trees-and-shrubs

Tree & Shrub Watering Tips. Nebraska. IANR. Nebraska Extension(2015). Retrieved 28 November 2022, from https://water.unl.edu/landscapewater/tree-watering

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