TreeUtah encourages you to be water aware. Since summers in Utah are hot and dry, it is important to make sure your trees are getting enough water. Due to differing elevations, microclimates, and tree species, it is not possible to recommend an exact amount of water that any given tree needs, but follow the guidelines below to be sure your trees have the water they need.

Infrequent, deep watering is more beneficial than frequent, shallow watering. Unestablished trees should be watered 1-2 times per week to a depth of 2-4.” Deep watering ensures that the tree roots grow deeper in the soil, which allows them to be more drought-tolerant later in the tree’s life.

How to Check if Trees Need Water

Over-watering a tree can be just as harmful as under-watering, so be sure to check before watering. Use a garden trowel or even your hand to create a small, narrow trench near the trunk of the tree. The trench should be 2-4″ deep. If the soil is moist to the touch, the tree doesn’t need water. If the soil is dry, give the tree water.

Watering Newly Planted and Non-Established Trees

The first 2 years of a tree’s life is critical for survival. The tree is establishing its root system in the soil and is sensitive to stressors like heat and drought. Water a newly planted tree immediately after planting and routinely check the soil moisture often to be sure the tree has enough water for the next 2 growing seasons. After the tree is established, it will have an easier time adjusting to heat and drought conditions.

Gator Bags

Another easy way to be sure your unestablished tree has enough water is to use a gator bag. This is a zip-up bag that goes around the trunk of the young tree. Fill the bag with water and it will slowly drip out of the bag to water the tree. The bag will need to be filled about once every 5-7 days.




One of the easiest ways to increase the chances of survival for a newly planted tree is to place mulch around it. Continuing to refresh the mulch as the tree grows will help the tree grow to its full potential.


What Does Mulch Do?

Well-placed mulch around a tree has numerous benefits for the health of the tree including:

  • A layer of mulch will help retain water in the soil.
  • By covering the soil, mulch will prevent soil compaction, which can harm the tree’s roots.
  • Mulch also regulates the temperature of the soil, protecting the roots from sudden changes in temperature.
  • A tree with a circle of mulch around it will have less competition from weeds, grass, and be better protected from lawn mowers and weed whackers.

How to Properly Mulch a Tree

After planting a new tree or to benefit an established tree, follow the guidelines below to protect it with mulch:

  • Make sure there is no grass or weeds within a circle around the trunk of the tree. The diameter of the circle will vary from 3-10 feet depending on the size of the tree, but must be a minimum of 3 feet. Increase the diameter of the circle by 1 foot for every inch of tree caliper.
  • Spread mulch around the circle to a depth of 3-4 inches.
  • Pull mulch away from the trunk so it is not touching the trunk.

proper mulch