Fall Watering for Evergreens, Deciduous Trees

Written by Brandon Hogan
Updated June 15, 2021
autumn leaves on tree
Deciduous trees typically do not need to be watered through the fall.
Brandon Smith

Tree watering is important in the fall for some trees.

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Water is one of the basic requirements for all life, and proper watering proves especially important for your trees. While all plants need water, the amounts trees require can differ greatly, depending on the species and time of year.

Newly planted trees and those already under some stress or having health issues will need more regular watering attention than healthy established trees. Trees need water most in the spring and summer, since they are actively growing, defending and making food.

Trees that need water in fall

As the summer winds down and temperatures cool off, homeowners can generally reduce watering frequency and volume. By early to mid fall, homeowners can completely stop watering deciduous trees — trees that lose their leaves each year.

However, conifers, commonly called evergreens, will generally benefit from watering later into the fall. Since they retain their foliage, conifers possess all of the mechanisms and vessels that allow for water loss.

Conifers’ water loss occurs through transpiration — the process of moving water from the roots up through the trunk  and out the leaves. They can even lose water through a little new growth if the autumn weather remains warm. Watering once temperatures dip below freezing probably won’t be helpful except in a few special situations.

Location matters when watering trees

Small changes in site conditions during the fall can also make an evergreen require a little bit more water. Loss of leaves from large deciduous trees near a smaller evergreen can increase the amount of light the understory tree receives in the fall. This creates a seasonal need for more water. Also, many areas experience increased winds during that time of year, which can dry out a tree as well.

Possessing knowledge of local weather and paying attention to your trees are two critical factors in determining when and how to water. No general watering guide or tag on a plant will be able to provide a full picture for its care. Local arborists are great resources for watering and all kinds of tree information.

Are you working on a fall watering regimen for your trees? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

As of Nov. 13, 2015, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List. 

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