Watering Fruit & Nut Trees

Bucket pouring water on small tree.

Thirst is something you have in common with your fruit and nut trees. Just like you, water is essential to your trees’ survival. Water helps your trees pull nutrients out of the soil to grow and produce a generous harvest. But you need to find the right balance of when and how much to water.

Too much water can be as detrimental as too little. You’ll want to apply water at a rate that the soil can absorb without runoff, so that it can be absorbed many feet down below the surface. Trees in their first year need more water than when they’re more established, because they’re still developing a strong root system. More mature trees with deep roots can reach moisture deeply underground, even when surface soil had dried out.

You’ll want to irrigate deeply several times a season, but the amount of water will vary based on the size of your trees and the type of soil. Trees growing in sandy soil may need watering every 10 to 15 days, because sandy soil drains quickly and doesn’t retain the moisture. Clay soils need less frequent watering – about every 15 to 20 days – but need larger amounts of water to get deep into the soil.

Helpful Tips:

  • Mulch! Spread organic material such as bark or wood chips on top of the soil at least 2” deep. This insulates the roots and helps conserve water.
  • Try to water in the early morning hours.
  • Avoid watering during the heat of the day or in windy weather.
  • Put in a drip irrigation system for the most efficient watering.

Do you have an avocado tree? We have a specific section about planting and caring for avocado trees.