Colorado Blue Spruce 6' watering needs

Asked May 23, 2014, 12:36 PM EDT

Hello,

We moved some 6' Colorado Blue Spruces to our home last October. They were planted and watered well and appear to have survived winter well. I am located in South Dakota and have a question for you.
How much water should I be giving these newly planted 6' trees? My soil is a bit on the sandy side. They were pulled from ground that had good black dirt, so they have good dirt all around the tree. But my land is sandy.
Thanks in advance for your help!

Minnehaha County South Dakota trees and shrubs horticulture

1 Response


Thank you for your question about watering your transplanted spruce trees. It is important that you water your tree smaller amounts more frequently. When discussing watering, industry professionals refer to the caliper of the trunk, not the height of the tree, so take a look and figure out the diameter of the trunk to follow this chart.

Table 1.
Estimated Irrigation of Newly Planted Trees (during the growing season) –Check soil moisture and water as needed
Size of Nursery Stock
Irrigation Need for Vigor
< 2 inch caliper
  • Daily for two weeks - Depending on temperature and wind, apply 1-2 gallons per inch of trunk diameter.
  • Every other day for two months - Depending on temperature and wind, apply 2-4 gallons per inch of trunk diameter.
  • Weekly until established (one to two or more seasons)
2-4 inch caliper
  • Daily for four weeks - Depending on temperature and wind, apply 1-2 gallons per inch of trunk diameter.
  • Every other day for three months - Depending on temperature and wind, apply 2-4 gallons per inch of trunk diameter.
  • Weekly until established (two to four or more seasons)
> 4 inch caliper
  • Daily for six weeks - Depending on temperature and wind, apply 1-2 gallons per inch of trunk diameter.
  • Every other day for five months - Depending on temperature and wind, apply 2-4 gallons per inch of trunk diameter.
  • Weekly until established (four or more seasons)
  • Check the actual water need before watering. A common mistake on compacted and clayey soils (with poor drainage) is to apply too much water per irrigation, waterlogging the planting hole. Never apply irrigation if soil is saturated.
  • Trunk diameter on small trees is measured at six inches above the soil line.
  • As a rule of thumb for Hardiness Zones 4 to 5, establishment takes one season per inch of trunk caliper.
  • In Colorado winters without routine moisture, water newly planted trees monthly. However, do not water if the ground is frozen.
  • In our dry, semi-arid climate, there is benefit from applying additional irrigation outside the root ball area. This can be done with a ringed soil berm that allows water to percolate into the soil or a soaker-type hose running around the backfill area.