It’s feeling hotter and more like summer everyday, which means that our tree planting activities slow down. The dry Utah heat can be stressful for trees, and especially newly planted trees. Trees can be planted in summer as long as they are watered thoroughly and closely monitored. However we don’t recommend it because its better to wait to the Fall which is the perfect time to plant! The heat increases the risks that planted trees can be damaged or die from the heat. That’s why we focus our planting efforts during the Spring or Fall.
Make sure the trees you’ve already planted are getting enough water. Generally, a tree of 1 inch caliper (1 inch trunk diameter) requires about 10 gallons of water every week. Because newly planted trees have lost root mass from being moved from a nursery, compounded by the shock of being moved, they need frequent and deep watering. This helps to keep water deep below the surface which guides the regenerating roots downward into the soil. Deep watering to a depth of at least 12 inches or more is recommended. Most of a trees’ roots are located within the top 2 to 4 feet of soil. Water should be applied directly over the root ball for newly planted trees.
Just as with all watering in the heat of summer, its best to water early in the morning or throughout the evening and night to reduce the loss of water to evaporation. Avoid watering between 9am and 7pm. It is also a great idea to protect your trees by having mulch around the base of the tree to retain moisture and deter mowers from damaging the trunk. Trees have deeper roots than your lawn, meaning they can draw water from deeper in the soil and end up needing 25-50% less watering than your lawn. For more tips on summer watering and care, visit Water Wise Utah and the Arbor Day Foundation websites.