Published on 04/25/00

How Much Water Is Enough for a Tree?

Trees Struggle
to Survive

For a tree to survive a dry period, it needs about 2 gallons of water per day for every inch of trunk diameter (measured at 4.5 feet above the ground).

For example, a 10-inch diameter tree would need 20 gallons of water per day. Distribute this amount of water under the crown of the tree. Provide drainage with the watering, as trees don't survive long in stagnant soils.

Apply survival-level water every three days when it hasn't rained to recharge the soil water. Don't water daily, especially on heavy soils. Some excessively well-drained soils may need more frequent watering.

Apply water in the evening to minimize evaporation loss.

For more information on trees, water and drought, see the University of Georgia School of Forest Resources Drought Information Site at and the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences drought site at www.griffin .

Kim Coder is a forester with the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.