Urban Forest Management
Department of Public Works and
Fairfax County, Virginia
Summer Tree Care
Summer Watering Tips for New Trees
The first summer is the most difficult for new trees:
Immature root systems
Trees from the Nursery
When trees are removed from the nursery field, about 90
percent of the root system is severed. Then, the roots are
wrapped in burlap and shipped to the retail nursery to be
For a new tree to survive, the root system must regrow.
Homeowners can help their new trees grow by applying the
right amount of water.
How much water?
New trees need one inch of rain per week
How can a homeowner measure
the amount of rain?
Local weather stations broadcast the amount of rain
Purchase a rain gauge from a hardware store
How much water does a new
tree need during a drought?
Provide ten gallons of
water per week during the
first growth season for a
new tree that is one to two
inches in diameter
How Should the Water be Supplied?
Apply the water slowly
Allow the water to soak into the soil
Try this low-tech method:
Drill a small hole (less than 1/8th inch) on the side,
near the bottom of a five gallon bucket**
Fill the bucket with water and place it next to the tree
The water will slowly soak into the soil
** If you have pets or small children, place a secure lid on the bucket.
How Much Water is Too Much?
Even with a complete root system, it is normal for tree leaves to
droop during the hot and sunny times of the day.
Tree leaves should fully recover during the night.
If the leaves do not fully recover by morning, the tree may need
Before watering, check under the mulch
near the tree to see if the soil is dry.
Pruning New Trees After
Minor Storm Damage
Summer Storm Damage to New Trees
Summer storms can be very damaging for new trees:
Storm-damaged trees in June
2013 show split trunks and
Fairfax County Photo
Tree pruning tip: the
branch collar is where the
branch meets the trunk of
the tree. When necessary,
cutting off a branch at the
branch collar may allow
the cut to close properly.
Fairfax County photo.
For more information call or email the staff of the
Urban Forest Management Division, Department of
Public Works and Environmental Services
12055 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035
703-324-1770, TTY 711
A Fairfax County, Virginia publication Summer 2013