October 4, 2021 /
Jona Elwell

2021 Weekly Watering Alert Recap

Every Monday from May to October, we took the guessing game out of knowing when to water your trees by posting a weekly tree watering recommendation — water, do not water, or watering optional.

We do this because it is important for newly planted trees, those in the ground for less than three years — to receive 25 gallons of water, roughly 1.5 inches of rainfall per week, to survive.

Our arborists use rainfall data to determine our alert each week. Although weather is pretty unpredictable, we typically assume that the warm summer months will result in more watering recommendations than not. 

However, the summer started off relatively normally – a typical May was followed by a slightly wetter than usual June and another typical July. August is where it got funky. Thunderstorms and less frequent, far more intense rainstorms dumped buckets of water on DC. We received almost three times as much rainfall as normal! While this seems like a boon to trees, what they really need is slow, consistent water to be able to adequately seep into roots, as opposed to fast, moving water that erodes soil and runs off without sinking into the soil. Thankfully September, while hot, has been slightly more normal on the precipitation front.

Rain may not be as consistent as we’d like (is it ever?) and while trees still need to be watered, trees are not quite in dire straits. Needless to say, we’ve spent some quality time with the hose this summer (and spring, and fall). But what do the stats tell us? We had a very dry summer. Let’s break it down further:

As the summer has officially come to an end, so do our Weekly Watering Alerts. However, just because our Watering Alerts have ended doesn’t mean you should stop watering – our arborist suggests that trees still in their first two to three years should still be watered once a week through October…and possibly November if warm weather persists. Feel free to reach out to us at if you have any questions.

So what will next year bring? Even more rain? Endless sun? Pots of gold at the end of rainbows? Only time will tell.