How to Water an Apple Tree

Knowing how to water an apple tree the right way is a key ingredient to a tree’s success. If you water the wrong way, it can lead to insufficient growth and diseases. Generally, apple trees need about an inch of rainfall every seven to ten days for established trees.Another way of looking at it is water when the top eight to ten inches of soil are dry. However there is a difference in how you water young and mature trees. Young trees are newly planted trees perhaps 3 to 6 feet in height in their first growing season. It may take about one growing season for a tree to mature and establish its roots.

how to water apple tree
how to water tree

Newly Planted

  • Newly planted trees would need more water than a mature tree. In fact about 5 gallons of water (one large bucket) about 1-3 times a week is adequate.
  • This frequency depends on your soil type (e.g. sandy or loamy), tree size (e.g. dwarf or semi-dwarf) and weather. For example if it rains all week, then you don’t need to water. However if it is really hot in the summer, you would need to water more. However the most important thing is not to overwater since this will lead to root rot.

Established Trees

  • Established trees (planted for more than one year) only need to be watered when there is little rainfall or when you experience drought. Water when the top eight to ten inches of soil are dry.
  • Generally, about an inch of rainfall every seven to ten days is enough.

How to Water an Apple Tree Do’s and Don’ts

Here are some easy do’s and don’ts of watering that will help the process further.

Watering Do’s

  • Where to water: Water only the ground where the roots are around the tree
  • Frequency: In general, water deeply when the roots have dried out. This may mean once a week or once a month depending on the weather, soil condition, and the age of the tree. If it is very hot and dry in your location, it may even mean more.
  • Watering in the winter: The tree still needs water even when it is dormant in the winter. If there are dry spells during the winter, soak the roots with water when it is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Watering Don’ts

  • Where to water: Do not water the upper part of the tree which means the trunk, leaves, and branches. If you do, then this may lead to diseases.
  • Frequency: If you see standing water or have roots that are waterlogged, then this is a sign of overwatering. This can cause root rot and may deter the tree from absorbing the necessary minerals.
  • Watering in the winter: Don’t forget about the tree in the winter. It still needs water if there isn’t enough precipitation.

What to Water With

You can use buckets, a hose, either a regular or soaker hose, or drip irrigation. With a hose, simply put near the roots on a slow trickle in order to give a deep soak without the water flowing everywhere.

how to water tree


Cover the top of the soil near the tree with mulch so that the moisture stays in the soil. Moreover weeds are less likely to grow. Don’t put the mulch in a way that touches the bark of the tree. It should be about 2′ away from it.

how to mulch tree

Knowing how to water an apple tree is an important step in growing and getting delicious fruit from this tree. If how to water an apple tree is the second step and you would like to know the first step of planting, check out our article on how to plant an apple tree.

If you would like to discover our apple trees, explore our tree catalog or shop page.

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