must water

Pledge to Water

Here are some watering tips:

  1. For newly planted trees (planted 1 – 3 years ago):
    These trees are the most susceptible to damage/death due to inadequate water. But you should prioritize which trees to water by starting with those trees located in areas with limited soil – think street trees and those surrounded by/near concrete and curbs.
  2. Water SLOWLY. The ground is hard and dry – water will run off if too much is applied too quickly.
  3. Place a hose a foot or so from the base of the tree and turn it on to a trickle. Let it run for an hour or two (or more), occasionally moving it the hose nozzle to provide water to the entire root zone of the tree. If you have a small sprinkler head you can use that to cover a wider area – but again turn it on to low.
  4. You can also water with a 5 gallon bucket that you have drilled some (5 is sufficient) holes in the bottom about the diameter of a pencil lead. Place the bucket at the base of the tree, fill the bucket to the top with water, let it drain, move it slightly, and fill it again – up to 5 times.
  5. If you can, place a mulch ring around the tree following the 3-3-3 rule. Mulch keeps the water in the soil feeding the roots by slowing evaporation.
  6. After you’ve saturated the soil around the tree, remember to do it again in 3 – 4 days’ time. If you are unsure about when to water again, check our Watering Alerts.

For Established trees:

  1. All trees in this drought can use some water, especially street trees. If you have street trees in front of your home letting a hose drip onto its roots for a few hours will be a big help! Move the hose nozzle around every hour or so to water the entire area.
  2. The rule of thumb in these severe conditions is: WATER!

Thanks for your help!

"25 to Stay Alive" Watering Pledge

Newly planted trees — those that have been in the ground less than three years — require 25 gallons of water, approximately 1.5 inches of rainfall, per week to survive. Every Monday from May 1 through September 30, we post a tree watering alert in our weekly newsletter, our homepage, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 


When you pledge to water your trees, we will mail you a complimentary rain gauge and a "No One Wants a Thirsty Friend" stainless steel straw so you can keep your beverage plastic-free while tracking weekly rainfall totals at home. If less than 1.5 inches of rain falls, water your trees with the recommended 25 gallons of water. Check out DDOT's handy watering map to find thirsty trees near you. 


Please note all fields are required in order to process your rain gauge request. Rain gauges are mailed between May 1 and September 30. Offer limited to those within a 25-mile radius of the District.


"I pledge to practice 25 to Stay Alive by watering trees on and surrounding my property with 25 gallons of water each week in times of little or no rainfall during the spring, summer and fall. I will use the rain gauge provided to me by Casey Trees to monitor rainfall totals on my property and water trees accordingly."  

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We can only offer a complimentary rain gauge to addresses within a 25-mile radius of Washington, DC.

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